Ananda Serné

I smell flowers all around us, I smell only soil

Solo show at Studio 17, Stavanger, Norway



The project I smell flowers all around us, I smell only soil, draws upon the symbolist play Les Aveugles (The Sightless) by the Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. The text focuses on a group of blind characters who seem to be abandoned on a desolate island shore. The group is hypersensitive to the sounds around them and careful about where to place their feet; steps and slippery rocks take all the attention so that the landscape becomes a set of challenges. Maeterlinck wrote Les Aveugles at the turn of the 20th century and his play expresses an enormous sense of anxiety. In my work, different translations of the play function as a symbol for the feeling of insecurity/instability/failure when trying to read, speak or write in a foreign tongue. The pieces in the exhibition could be seen as ‘broken’ theatre props accompanying the written play. 


This project is kindly supported by the Norsk Fotografisk Fond.

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    inkjet print on paper, concrete, HAMPEN rug

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    laser print on cotton T-shirt, volcanic rock, plastic, nylon rope

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    polyester curtain, embroidered text, steel, nylon rope

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    polyester curtain, embroidered text, steel, nylon rope

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    inkjet print on paper, wood, metal clips, nylon rope

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    UV print on glass, wood, sandstone

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    UV print on glass, wood, sandstone

Echoists of the Takse River

HD video, sound, 03:16 min
publication, offset printing
594 x 420 mm, edition of 250


I had learned to take ‘soundings’ – like someone testing the depth of a well. You throw a stone down and listen. 

Plainwater, Anne Carson 


In science, the word ‘sounding’ means: 'to study the underwater depth of lake or ocean floors by transmitting sound pulses into water'. Data taken from soundings are used to map the seafloor, an area that is still largely unknown to human beings. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary ‘sounding’ can also mean: a probe, a test, or sampling of opinion or intention. Like a bat exploring its surroundings by sending out a signal and listening to the echo in order to find out what’s there. 

Late in the 1970s, three dams were built along the course of the Takase river in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Echoists of the Takase River focuses on the vegetation around one of these dams and on the phenomenon known in Japanese folklore as 'kodama'. This phenomenon consists of sounds in mountains and valleys that make a delayed echoing effect; the spoken words reflected against the landscape are thought to be Kodama: tree spirits answering. 

In Echoists of the Takase River we meet a Japanese Sign Language (JSL) interpreter who signs the word 'kodama', while a group of echoists shout both the names of plants and trees that died during the construction of the dam, as well as the names of pioneer species that were the first to colonize the previously disrupted land. Names like HARIGIRI, NISE AKASHIYA and OOKAMENOKI. 

Performed by: Naoto Nakamura, Mariko Nishijo, Mio Nishitani, Chihiro Takahashi, Tomoaki Urano and Akemi Watanabe
Sign Language Interpreter: Atsuko Tanabe
Sound Design: Sveinbjörn Thorarensen
Translation: Sosei Sato

This project was possible thanks to the generous support of the city of Omachi, Nagano, Japan. 

Sounds of the Sea, Crickets and Translucent Yellow

HD video, sound, 05:44 min

Sounds of the Sea, Crickets and Translucent Yellow combines two identical statues with each other: one of them is situated in a park close to Nagoya in Japan, the other one next to the sea in a small town in the Netherlands. 

The filmmaker Chris Marker often combined footage from different places and travels with each other. His film Sans Soleil, however, opens with the occasional impossibility of combining certain images. With this video I wanted to experience whether I could combine the sounds of the two statues with one another. The statues function here as anthropomorphic objects that reflect their immediate surroundings – the park and the seashore. The work deals with a translation between the senses, where sound can become the main component of the narrative and a piece of sculpture can seem to change shape, while staying the same, even in two places at the same time. 

I didn’t speak the same language as the ‘listener’ in the video and the filming therefore took place in silence. This draws a comparison to the experience of ambient sounds becoming more prominent when one can’t focus on the spoken words in an environment.

Voice-over: Catoo Kemperman


zesentwintig gaten (26 holes) 

printed matter, edition of 50



While walking along a river in the outskirts of a former fishing village in Japan, I encountered a solitary woman playing a game of golf. She had built her own golf course on a piece of wasteland. Plastic bottles filled with water served as substitutes for the traditional holes in the ground.

As a follow-up on this encounter in rural Japan, a short internal monologue from the perspective of the golfer came to exist. I combined this monologue with a collection of auditory impressions from the same place. 

Read the text here.

Graphic design: Charlotte Boeyden

The Inhabitants

HD video, sound, 08:35 min
publication, 18 pages, 10,5 x 25 cm, staple bound, edition of 50

“I have been sensitive to sound for as long as I can remember,” begins the story of The Inhabitants. Written as a play by the fictional author, Alfons van der Berg, and containing a Dutch-Norwegian land dispute over natural resources on the island of Jan Mayen in the Arctic Ocean, the story presented in the short film is composed as a collage of moments tied together into a narrative.

Voice-over: Sigurlaug Thorarensen
Sound Design: Sveinbjörn Thorarensen
Graphic Design text: Charlotte Boeyden



Yellowhammer Infrasound

HD video, sound, 06:36 min



One can look at seeing, but one can't hear hearing. 
- Marcel Duchamp


In the video Yellowhammer Infrasound, a narrator is searching for an infrasound array that is placed in a small forest in Iceland. The array is placed there in order to measure the trembling of the earth and to calculate volcanic activity. Infrasound is lower than the human hearing can perceive; when the two characters reach the forest where the infrasound array should be placed, all they hear is the sound of birds. They however still feel a desire to document this thing they cannot hear or see.

Yellowhammer Infrasound is a visual and auditory collage that presents a variety of ways of experiencing places in both intuitive and cognitive ways. During the making of the video, I deliberately visited a place of which I knew there was a sound lower than I would be able to perceive. I couldn’t hear or see the infrasound array, but I knew it was there and I wanted to frame it somehow. 

Sound Design: Sveinbjörn Thorarensen


HD video, geluid, 01:18 min


Meloen is een korte video over gevoeligheid voor geluid en de interactie tussen mensen en objecten.

Voice-over: Catoo Kemperman