The beauty of totality.

By now I probably own the largest library of Skolt Saami to Finish language dictionaries in the world. Except for a few Skolt - German ones from the 1800 century that I found visiting the Humbolt University Library in Berlin last month, I have gathered all I could find.

The sum total is 4 books and 1 bad photocopy from the 80s.

They all vary greatly in size and quality, and I have tested my way through them all in the hopes of finding a candidate for scanning and optical character recogniction.

Finally today, a breakthrough. Mosnikoffs and Sammallahtis dictionary from 88 seems to have all the necessary ingredients: the copy is in strong black and white ink, the “c” does not look like an “e” (who would have thought that this would be the greatest of challenges for the digitizing community?) and all the special letters of the Skolt Sami language are possible to separate from each other. The ? from the d, the ? from the k, the ? from the ?, the š and ž, and å and â, not to mention the õ ö ? and ?. (Even your browser probably do not support these characters...)

I am starting to get a close relationship with these characters. Their corresponding sounds roll silently in my mouth like liquorice while I stare at the enlarged scans. Teaching the computer to understand all of them takes patience, but gives a rare glimpse into the microscopic world of the letter. The shapes of the characters are blown up and supersized until I see every molecule of ink filling up the topography of the paper.


I feel my eyes drying up. I am lost in a desert of broken letters. Literarily.

Struck by a sudden premonition I see my next two weeks before me: working day and night proofreading a dictionary that translates between two languages, neither of which I understand a single word.

Today has been a technical research day. How to digitise a dictionary. How to wield the computing power to my needs. How to teach a blind computer to read.

The first goal: to build a database of the Skolt Saami language. A dying language in the arctic regions of northern Norway, Finland and Russia.

The next goal: To travel to northern Finland and collect samples of all the words of the Skolt Saami language. To film one informant per letter of the alphabet reading all the words.

The final goal: To build an art installation for the new Skolt Saami museum in Neiden, Norway - an exhibition of the totality of a dying language. At the push of a button, one by one of the words will be given to the visitors. One word each, given as a task - for the visitor to take responsibility for and remember for the future.

31January2008 Slåttberg

A preview of a custom built musical instrument by Espen Sommer Eide, artist and member of Alog and Phonophani. The Slåttberg will premiere at the Borealis Festival for contemporary music Bergen, Norway late february 2008.

03January2008 Amateur nominated for Spellemann - Norwegian Grammy

The alog album "Amateur" is nominated for a Spellemann award (Norwegian Grammy) to be decided on the 2. February. http://spellemann.no/

Tags: alog

03September2007 New live dates

Some new dates have been added to our autumn schedule, including a surprise phonophani performance in Geneva this Wednesday.

04.-08.12.07 alog, Madeira (Dig Festival), Portugal
20.10.07 alog, Amsterdam (Bimhuis), Netherlands
14.-15.9.07 alog, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte, Madrid
6.10.07 phonophani w. Marius Watz, microscope session, Dresden, Germany
5.09.07 phonophani, Geneva, Switzerland


What do people in the Barents Region have in common - other than the notion of living on the periphery? What happens now when the region experiences a potential change from periphery to center? Why is everybody speaking English to each other? Is the opening of the first IKEA store in the region a major event in the history of the Barents?

USB is a performance that investigates these and other questions; questions dealing with local, global and northern identity, the power of definition, borders, similarities and differences in the Arctic, and the love of IKEA.

Welcome to the brave new world of the United States of Barents!

Amund Sjølie Sveen is an artist and percussionist from northern Norway who developed USB (United States of Barents) originally after taking part in the artistic research project Connection Barents in June 2006. USB was premiered in the Barents Spektakel-festival, in Kirkenes, January 2007. An Internet version of the USB presentation was made especially for this Region in focus.

via LabforCulture

18June2007 Alog - Son of King

Alog´s newest music video. From their album Amateur. The video is made by moscow-based painter/director Julia Zastava, and was shot in the old palace of the Orlov family. The video is inspired by the murder of the russian Tsar and his family in 1918.

Click here to see the video now! (flash 8).

Also available in larger sized Quicktime and on YouTube.

Tags: alog


This time next year, Kentucky based physicist and futurist Brooks Agnew hopes to board the commercially owned Russian icebreaker Yamal in the port of Murmansk, and to sail into the polar sea just beyond Canada's Arctic islands...

Mr. Agnew is the latest in a long line of people to peddle the nutty, yet persistent, theory that humans live on the surface of a hollow planet, in which two undiscovered openings, near the North and South poles, connect the outer Earth with an interior realm...

While he insists the journey has a genuine scientific purpose, Mr. Agnew also says the expedition will include several experts in meditation, mythology and UFOs, as well as a team of documentary filmmakers...

If the polar opening isn't there, the voyage "will still make an outstanding documentary," he promises.

more info at the national post


22May2007 Double LP now available

Finally the double vinyl edition of Amateur has arrived! Each of the four sides can be heard as a standalone musical work. Engraved with DMM quality sound made from high quality mastering by Helge Sten and enveloped by a gatefold cover designed by Kim Hiorthøy - this is how the album was intended to be heard and seen! Click on the alogshop link and place your order.

Tags: alog


April 63, needing a break after the bay of pigs invasion, Fidel Castro travelled to Murmansk. Here he is seen visiting the local pioneers.

10May2007 MURMANSK 2007: Distribution of the Sensible

Images of buildings and non-buildings in Murmansk, Russia taken in may 2007 by Espen Sommer Eide

12April2007 ALOG - AMATEUR

CD and double LP gatefold release date: 23.04.2007

Side A
son of king
a throne for the common man
write your thoughts in water
Side B
sleeping instruments
the beginner
the learning curve
Side C
turn back. undo
a book of lightning
the future of norwegian wood
exit virtuoso
Side D
bedlam emblem
the northeast passage

Order Amateur here
More info here

Tags: alog

24March2007 Sonus barentsicus

A video from the sound installation at the Northern Lights Festival by Phonophani

13December2006 Madeira photos

Here are some flikcr photos from the Generator X concert with phonophani on Madeira:

Tags: phonophani