Ava Imogen Grayson


A collaboration realized through the Nordic Lights open call and residency week, with support from Nordic Culture Point.

Ava Imogen Grayson & Francesco Fabris presents Petra:
Every place contains traces of events that have occurred over time, like a geographical palimpsest. Around the cistern is the natural fodder for future crude oil (plant and animal matter), below the cistern is the land from which Swedish culture flourished, and far below is stone: the spine of the earth that we tap into to satisfy our societal need for fossil fuels. Etymologically, the word ’petroleum’ came into usage in 1546 and translates from Latin to mean ’stone oil’.

Through their collaborative audiovisual work, Fabris and Grayson weave a site-specific narrative of the cisterns of Svanö and their surrounding geography. Deconstructed sounds, field recordings, and footage from the oil tank have been pieced together with traditional Swedish herding calls (’kulning’). The resonant frequencies of the cistern provide harmony and percussive sounds recorded through the walls and roof of the cistern create rhythmic elements. Data charts of oil consumption and demand have been used to shape the narrative structure of the piece, which depicts the transformation of natural processes of decay into processed materials that have the ability to empower and endanger.

Ava Imogen Grayson (they/them) is a Canadian-born sound artist and pedagogue based in Helsinki. Their work as a trained composer and sound experimenter focuses on creating experiences of interconnection to that which is considered ‘other’. Their works are often dependent on collected field recordings and compositional layering that create shifting atmospheres, and their live performances incorporate the approach of listening as a physical relationship between event, space, and the body.