SURA MEDURA Residency, Spring 2019 – Blog post :
I was inspired by my visited to the harbour in Dodanduwa – and remembered seeing images of fishermen fishing on ‘stilts’ in Sri Lanka. More info about the stilt fishermen here
This developed as a fishing technique around the 1940’s following a shortage of fishing equipment after WWII. A ‘stilt’ would be anchored into the sea bed and a fisherman then sits on a crossbar to fish. They need to remain as still and silent as possible, by being high up above the surface of the water, they don’t make a shadow, so the fish don’t sense their presence. An anchored stilt would be passed down from father to son. In the Tsunami, many fishermen’s stilts were destroyed, and not many have been re-instated, so it is now not so common to see. I will try and find some stilt fishermen on the south coast.
Following my ‘rock listening’ excursion at the windy harbour, I decided to build an ‘aeolian’ harp in the style of a fisherman’s stilt by stretching fishing line between 2 hooks in the triangular gap, amplified by a piezo pick-up. I tried it out at the edge of the lagoon, and to my surprise, it work pretty well!… The wind causes the taut fishing to start oscillating and sounding, just like a guitar or violin string does when plucked or bowed.
More experiments sonifying the wind using elastic and recording the percussive clattering of the palms, also using piezo contact mics.