Hollow Earth is the result of a friendship and collaboration between Emilija Skarnulyte (LT) and Tanya Busse (CAN), that spanned many months and is still ongoing. The project is, more than anything, a platform that takes on different presentations given the context.
The whole process started when we were working towards a project for Festspillene i Nord Norge in 2013. At the time, we were both MA students in the thematic program Capitalism, Sustainability and Art, which as a program emphasized an engagement with regional politics and how they intersect with global flows and systems. We were also both interested in pursuing the topic of the geo-political north, particularly the new mappings that are currently being made due to resource extraction and the monumental effects it has on the landscape as we know it. So we set out to visit active sites in Kiruna (LKAB), Karasjok (Store Norske Gull), Kirkenes (Northern Iron Limited), Svalbard (Store Norske Gull) and Barentsburg (Arktikugol), which are all featured in the film.
Aesthetically, we had been talking about the frame through which the northern landscape has been visually constructed: as a symbol of national romanticism, the arctic frontier, untamed wilderness, polar expedition, tourist destination, and now, as a highly contested geopolitical territory at the forefront of resource and climate change debates. We combined historical archive footage, research material and landscape shots, in an attempt to create a visual meditation on the changing image of the north, now presented as a site where violence, desire, greed, and emotions are all played out.
The film is edited to emphasize the process of drilling through layers of geo-strata. So as you’ll see, it starts by showing aerial perspectives, followed by surface mining and subterranean depths. The soundtrack is composed by the Tromsø-based group Animals (Simon Daniel Tegnander and Ørjan Amundsen) and includes field recordings and samples that make up an audio-landscape of dream-trance-contemplation and crystals.