Sounds of Ocean, 65 Words for Sea, and Warning

Vala Hafstað

A sculpture with a name that means both ‘Language of the Sea’ and ‘Sea Level’ — Sjávarmál — has been installed near the ocean on Eiðsgrandi road in Reykjavík, Morgunblaðið reports.

The work, designed by architects Baldur Helgi Snorrason and David Hugo Cabo, in collaboration with writer Andri Snær Magnason, was selected from 70 entries in a competition for a new outdoor artwork in the western part of Reykjavík.

The selection committee notes in its comments that the work concerns people’s interactions with nature, which is undergoing changes. The work uses an old method for amplification, dating back to World War I, to amplify the sounds of the sea.

The side of the work facing the ocean has a round bowl, which serves to collect the sounds of the sea and amplify them with a simple echo for the person standing in front of the bowl or sitting in front of it.

“On the side of the work facing the street, all Icelandic words meaning ‘ocean’ are engraved into the stone, reminiscent of our 1,000-year-long history of interactions with the ocean,” the committee writes. Those synonyms are no fewer than 65.

A message on a copper plate states that if current developments continue, the pH level of the ocean will change more in a lifetime than it has in the past 50 million years.




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