New media art

Treasure hunt
Landscapes and Saami mythology in new media art 

Gaby Schulze 

The Treasure is Found!
Gaby Schulze lays down an artistic trail.

After encountering mysterious rocks in northern Scandinavia, artist Gaby Schulze has been  experimenting with their artistic realization. Intrigued by the many myths of the Saami that are connected to these rocks, she is trying to capture and express emotionally a world that is otherwise hidden from sight.

» Film

Everything started off with the discovery of a can. It lay underneath a tree at the entrance to the Sarek nature preserve in northern Sweden, essentially Europe's last true “wilderness.” Since the can had been carefully half-covered by a flat stone, it attracted the curiosity of the finder. It proved to be a treasure trove. There was a geocaching mark hidden inside the can with the embossed text “greetings from the Elbe sandstone highlands” and with further indications as to its source.

This geocaching discovery inspired the sculptor Gaby Schulze to lay down a trail of her own. During several visits, the artist created more than nine art stones in the wilderness of Lappland. If one wishes to follow this trail, there are two options: One is to find them by chance, on the spot, in the vastness of Scandinavia. The other is to trace them by means of their coordinates in the catalogue, with the help of Google Map and GPS. For this project, the artist began with mysterious but naturally occurring rocks that she had found in the North. To capture the spell of the place graphically, she drew the surrounding vegetation of mosses and lichens, engraved the images on prepared metal sheets, and inserted these into the magic rocks. Here arises the connection to the Saami who live in the region, to their culture and to their myths. Because the Saami themselves made offerings at conspicuously shaped rocks, so-called Siejdde or Sieidi, which were seen as sacred offering sites. Leaving sacrifices of such things as fish, reindeer horn, bones or blood, they prayed for luck at fishing or hunting, or simply for well-being.

Similar rocks are known to the artist from her own home region in Germany. In her thoughts, therefore, she is not only tracing them back along a journey that carried them down from the North with the glaciers of the Ice Age. But she has also followed their trail physically during her travels through Scandinavia and Greenland. There, through her work, she came to know and appreciate the traditions and myths of the Saami and Inuit who live in those places.

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