Making the mark: site, place, identity #TheClippertonProject

A post from Tracey reflecting on “Traces in the Landscape”

Tracey M Benson || Bytetime

This post is going to be a little bit like a ball of Faroese wool that I managed to knot up while I was aboard the Johanna TG 326 with the The Clipperton Project. So please be patient dear Reader as I attempt to unravel my tangled thoughts, connections and reflections.

Yesterday was our last full day as a group together on the Johanna and it was truly special for a several reasons. Firstly, we had the immense privilege of working together with the crew to haul up the sails and sail for a couple of hours around Tórshavn. It was also one of our team members birthday, Nils Aksnes, who enjoyed being at the helm while we were sailing. Also, we visited the Island of Nólsoy which was very lovely despite the rain.

What was also magic was local photographer Ingi Sørensen catching us with the sails up…

View original post 630 more words

More traces in the landscape #TheClippertonProject

Latest post from Tracey in the Faroe Islands.

Tracey M Benson || Bytetime

Here are the last couple of days worth of Rune drawings from Fuglafjørður, Klaksvik and Mikladalur. I am finding this project to be a lot of fun so far, as I seek out interesting and meaningful places to ‘leave a trace’. What is also really cool is that I have also inspired one of the other participants, artist and jeweller Chloe Henderson to do some chalk drawings outside as well.

More to come 🙂

View original post

Leaving traces in the landscape #TheClippertonProject

Latest post from Tracey about our journey of the #Faroes with #TheClippertonProject

Tracey M Benson || Bytetime

Yesterday we were back in Tórshavn after travelling from Sandur in Sandoy.

It was great to be back – we went and had a delicious coffee at @Brell, checked out the book shop and then I thought to create an intervention (read chalk graffiti) in the old town. The chalk drawing is a response to my poor lack of documentation through this journey – some days I did not capture any photographs or write in my journal.

The one thing I have done every day is to do a short reading of the Runes. Then an idea came to me that reflected some of my thoughts around place, the past and my experience of that place. I have wanted to find evidence of the Vikings in the Faroes and so far not found much in the landscape or in the towns we have visited. I was looking for things like…

View original post 438 more words

Faroese chain dance and fairy tales #TheClippertonProject

New post from Tracey on the #TheClippertonProject

Tracey M Benson || Bytetime

The other day the Clipperton Project gang was very fortunate to meet local blogger and educator Birgir Kruse and cultural researcher Tóta Arnadottir.

Birgir talked to us about Faroese culture and history with a focus on the language and historic ties to Denmark, WW11 connections to Britton and linguistic context to old Norse and Gaelic.

Tóta’s talk was focused on myths, ballads and storytelling in Faroese culture. What was very interesting in her talk was the relationship of the Faroese chain dance to the ongoing survival of the language and the culture. It was also fascinating to learn about some of the Faroese fairy tales and myths – particularly the Huldufólk, the Seal Woman (Kópakonan or Selkie) and stories of trolls and giants.

The Norns and the Tree, Faroe Islands 2003, Artist Anker Eli Petersen The Norns and the Tree, Faroe Islands 2003,
Artist Anker Eli Petersen

I was interested to learn more about Faroese fairy tales and…

View original post 257 more words

Mykines, Faroe Islands

Yesterday we caught the ferry from Sørvágur on Vágar to Mykines – the most westerly island in the Faroes.

Mykines is a beautiful place, famous for its Puffin population and beautiful cottages with grass roofs.

The other thing Mykines is well-known for is the unpredictability of its weather, which affects reliable transport to the island. The ferry only runs during the Summer months and if there are southerly or westerly winds then the ferry cannot dock. The other transport option is helicoptor, but it is also reliant on the weather.

We are all hoping for good winds tomorrow as we head back to Vágar, though if we are stranded there are plenty of potatoes to cook 🙂

Kirkjubøur, Faroe Islands

Yesterday the TCP crew went on a bit of an adventure to Kirkjubøur, a historic village located on the southern point of Streymoy Island.

Kirkjubøur village is considered the Faroes most important historical site and has a number of ruins dating back to the 1100s.

Kirkjubøargarður (Faroese for Yard of Kirkjubøur, also known as King’s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world, if not the oldest according to Wikipedia.

The old farmhouse of Kirkjubøur dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up.

The ruins of the Magnus Cathedral (Kirkjubømúrurin), built by Bishop Erlendur around the year 1300 is very impressive. The medieval building was never completed and still remains unfinished and without a roof.

The grass roofs of the traditional houses are very beautiful and something I have not seen anywhere else.

What I am finding even more beautiful is the landscape of rocky outcrops, cliffs and islands jutting out of the sea. It is the stuff of dreams and magic and we can’t wait to experience more of this beautiful place.

Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

The past couple of days we have been slowly orienting ourselves to the Faroe Islands and our next month as part of the Clipperton Project (TCP). At the moment we are based in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroes.

Tórshavn is a really gorgeous place – lots of interesting things to photograph!

To give a little bit of a cultural context – the Faroe Islands have been a self governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. It has its own parliament and its own flag. The Visit Faroe Islands website has some great information about the history of the Faroes:

According to stories passed down for generations the Irish abbot St. Brendan in AD 565 went in search of The Promised Land of the Saints. One of the stories told of a visit to “The Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds” situated several days’ sailing distance from Scotland. Based on this story and archaeology excavations there is good reason to believe that Irish monks were the first settlers in the Faroe Islands.
In the 9th century Norse settlers came to the Faroe Islands. These were mainy farmers who fleed from Norway and ended up in the Faroe Islands in search of new land. The special constitutional status of the islands was originally founded on the ancient viking tradition from the 9th century AD (all free men convened at the Althing, later called Løgting, in the capital Tórshavn). From the latter half of the 12th century on – when attached to the medieval Norwegian Kingdom – they further developed their own culture, language and other social institutions, while at the same time adapting constitutionally to the surrounding political contexts of coming and going empires reaching out from the Scandinavian heartlands.
Little is known about Faroese history up until the 14th century. The main historical source for this period is the 13th century work Færeyinga Saga (Saga of the Faroese).

Anyway, we have only just started our journey with TCP – will share more soon!

Scandinavian adventures have begun!

Well here we are in Denmark! This trip has been a very long time in the planning and we are really excited to finally be here. After what seemed like the mother of all long hauls, we landed in Copenhagen this morning and will be staying in Dragør overnight.

Tracey was very keen to see Dragør, as she had created an Augmented Reality walk for Cultura21, the Nordic Network for Culture and Sustainability in 2014. At the time she created the work, it was never a thought that we might actually visit there one day.

Dragør is a well preserved fishing and market village, situated south east of Copenhagen. Dragør’s history goes back to about 1200, when it was the market place of huge Herring catches and much trading throughout the Middle Ages. There are some beautifully restored cottages, complete with thatched roofs and it is a real pleasure to walk along the little cobblestone streets. We are staying at the Strand Hotel, which is a very cute place and also full of history.

Tomorrow we are on the move to the Faroe Islands where we will be participating in a Clipperton Project journey. We are really looking forward to being a part of one of these projects and hope we will make some good connections on the way and learn lots about the Faroes and its people.

Well, after more than 30 hours in transit and a big walk this morning in the drizzle, we are officially in recovery mode – trying to avoid jet lag!!

Waters of the Past

A blog from Tracey about our forthcoming journey to the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway

Tracey M Benson || Bytetime

Waters of the Past is the title of a new chapter of the Words for Water project. The project is focused on creative research and exploration through a journey to the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway.

The research explores recurring themes in my work related to memory, history, cultural identity and connection to place. It is also an opportunity to explore my migrant heritage directly by spending time learning more about the culture of my Norwegian ancestor, merchant seaman Anton Benson (1855-1929).

Anton’s sea-faring past fascinated me as a child, as did hearing stories of the long journey by boat made by my grandmother and great-grandmother. I have memories of my great-grandmother travelling to England by ship around 1972.

The landscape of my ancestors was richly imagined as a child; a place of fairy tales, of cold winters, of magic in the forest and of sea faring adventures.

The Carta marina (Latin "map of the sea" or "sea map"), drawn by Olaus Magnus in 1527-39, is the earliest map of the Nordic countries that gives details and place names. The Carta marina (Latin…

View original post 880 more words

Waters of the Past: Remembering a future of hope

Tracey’s next project explores her Scandinavian ancestry

Tracey M Benson || Bytetime

I am really excited to announce the next stage of the Words for Water project – Waters of the Past.

This is a two-part project, set in Scandinavia – the Faroe Islands and Iceland, where I will be undertaking residencies in June and July.

I am seeking some financial support via crowdfunding, as there is little arts funding available in Australia at this time.

Please check out my campaign – there are some great rewards on offer!

https://www.indiegogo.com/project/waters-of-the-past-remembering-a-future-of-hope/embedded/5579087

Here is some info:

Waters of the Past is a project exploring ancestral waters. Set in Scandinavia, the focus is on collaboration with community, sharing culture and stories and raising awareness of water issues in this part of the world.

Along the way I will also be doing lots of blogging to share the journey!

View original post

For travel lovers everywhere