Zooplankton and Phytoplankton are organisms which drift in the oceans, seas and bodies of fresh water. The word ‘zooplankton’ is derived from the Greek zoon (ζῴον), meaning ‘animal’, phyto is derived from the Greek words φυτόν (phyton), meaning plant and planktos (πλαγκτός), meaning wanderer or drifter.
Mammals, fish and crustaceans feed on zooplankton and they in turn feed on phytoplankton. Phytoplankton need two things for photosynthesis and thus their survival: energy from the sun and nutrients from the water. In the process of photosynthesis, phytoplankton release oxygen into the water. Half of the world's oxygen is produced by phytoplankton photosynthesis.
Local abundance varies horizontally in the water column, vertically with ocean drifts and seasonally with the light.
The Wanderer is a sound composition created from hydrophone recordings from the realm of these creatures in the Atlantic Ocean, made by Jana on her travels from the North Pole to the Equator.
The Wanderer was produced for the Lorch Schive Art Prize, Trondheim Kunstmuseum in 2015.
"Damn those extremely limited releases!! I cursed myself for missing the original release of this work: a beautiful 4Gb USB credit card that also included a surround (quad) version of this piece that was originally produced for a 16-channel installation. So I’ll have to do with the stereo version – which is so perfectly recorded that is is totally immersive too.
These field recordings may sound like a collection of strange animals, weird insects, wind, rain and an occasional drone sound. But sounds are deceiving: these sounds are hydrophone recordings from the Atlantic Ocean, from the realms of Zooplankton and Phytoplankton.
It would be interesting to know more about how exactly these recordings were made (how does one record the sound of Plankton?), but that detailed information is not included here.
Plankton comes from the Greek word Planktos, which means wanderer or drifter. Its importance can hardly be overrated:
‘Mammals, fish and crustaceans feed on zooplankton and they in turn feed on phytoplankton. Phytoplankton need two things for photosynthesis and thus their survival: energy from the sun and nutrients from the water. In the process of photosynthesis, phytoplankton release oxygen into the water. Half of the world’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton photosynthesis.’
Half of the world’s oxygen! With this 40 minute piece of ‘field’ recordings, Jana Winderen has created an impressive sonic monument celebrating the organisms at the very root of our existence!"