1 Field trip July, 2019

Røros visiting the southern Sami.

The reindeer herd with oral sounds and clicking

Reindeers in July 2019

First exciting visit to Røros and the overwhelming meeting with the reindeers sitting towards a tiny tree and having the herd of reindeers all around me - and the sounds.

Professor Øystein Holand referred me to Inge Even Danielsen, reindeer herder from the Røros district and contact was established in January ´19, where Inge Even Danielsen, said he could help me with the project. We spoke a few times and had brief contact by email. Four times a year the reindeers are collected and I could join the summer-gathering around June.

Equipment was arranged thanks to NOTAM and at Atelie Nord I could borrow an editing studio just in time to get the first exhibition ready for Art Space Hanstholm in August. The timeline was tight and a challenge to coordinate with an A4 job as occupational therapist. The reindeers needed proper conditions such as food/green grass before it would make any sense to have the herds collected. On the other hand my job required six months planning ahead, green grass or not.

To secure the success of the trip my daughter, our dog and I went in advance for a long weekend to Røros to test, how to camp in a new tent, how to keep warm in new sleeping bags and how to cook food at the campfire etc.? I brought extra huge batteries and a transformer to charge the sound recorders batteries in the remote areas. It all worked well and it was for sure quite cold at night.

The recordings started in a beautiful area in the northern part of Røros. Inge ED gave me brief instructions to meet at 2 am and guided me to a spot outside the fence. The reindeers came running from the distance, and suddenly the herd of thousands individuals were spinning around in a massive circle inside the fence. They were calling, mother-reindeers for their calves, and calves searching and calling too with their deeper voices. After a while they slowed down and it became almost quiet. Inge ED picked me up and guided me then to a tiny tree in the middle of the herd. I sat down and the quieter I was the closer the deers came and after a while I felt they did not bother. But by the slightest movement they got scared and hundres could run directly towars me but never as much a touching me. If I was careful and moved the microphone very slowly it seemed to be all right and I could get the "clicking" sounds when they were passing in front of me.

It was stunning to be there, watching and hearing the "clicking" and that definitely had a purpose and was created willingly by the lower bag legs. First of all to help staying together as a herd but the sound was also an interaction between the calf and mother. I was not able to distinguish the different "clicking" sounds from one another, but watching the animals, there was no daubt they knew differences.

Two nights and into the forenoon with observations and recordings made the trip one of the most remarkable experiences: these reindeers outstanding sensitivity, movements and behavior marked me along with the welcoming help from Inge Even Danielsen and the families in Røros. The almost silent work with the herd and the herds "clicking" sounding like electricfied shooting stars, created a deep imprint of a long time connection between the southern Sami and the reindeers.

Click for larger view