3-4/11 Examination and surveillance


Everybody seems to watch everyone in this place. We watch soldiers, they observe us. A number of buildings on Örö is dedicated to guarantee safety through surveillance. A fortress, an island, a nation must be guarded, it seems. In the woods, I come across this sign.

Even insects are being monitored throughout the island, multiple insect traps are brightly lit at night. As I stroll between trees, a black woodpecker curiously looks at me from behind a tree, while I try to observe him, in turn.

There is not much going on here, and one begins to record small things and details. For entertainment? For safety? For art?

In my experience, I like to detect outstanding elements, singular events. Phenomena that come to the foreground catch my attention. Human perception is geared to provide safety from the unexpected. There is a connection to patterning and also to composing. However, a solid background must be provided to sustain the appearance of the singular. If too many singularities occur in succession, they form a new background. They lose their specialness.

Walking across the western beach, I notice Marja’s footprints in the sand. There are not many women on the island, they are unmistakably from her hiking boots. Reminds me of Robinson Crusoe, who comes across his own footprints one day. I detect other marks, left by diverse animals (mink, in this case).

Looking at my own footprints in the sand, I notice the lines on the rock nearby. These traces were  left by a glacier a long time ago. They will stay on, while my traces will be washed away by the sea rather soon.

Hiking to the northern tip of Örö, I take the paved main road. As soon as the sun breaks through the clouds, the light is brilliant.

I record small plants, flowers, and mushrooms. Steadily, wind blows from the West. The island’s western side is battered by waves, the roar is audible throughout the land. Yet, small flowers and mushrooms endure right on the shore. The east and south coast are calm and more protected from wind and water, trees, reeds, and grass grow right up to the waterline.


On my walks through the woods, I begin to orient myself along the ever-present roar of the waves. Noise is west, quiet is east.