“The barrenness of the landscape unlocked the ascetics of her mind. There were no dark corners in her core. Her comfort was found in the silence of the landscape, her assurance in the frames made of granite rock. The old woman looked out to the sea. She saw the waves which rolled with a determined certainty towards the shore. They dictated the rhythm that crept deep inside her body. The sea was the isolator and the solder. With one whisk of her tail she could destroy the most audacious of spirits and test their faith in sanity. With salt she corroded the skin and whitened the hair. With time she softened the hardest of rocks. She could give and she would take according to her own plan. Yet she had no hatred in her, it was simply the manifestations of her ample vigor.”
In the summer of 2015 I spent three months living on the small, treeless lighthouse island of Bengtskär in the Baltic Sea in Finland.
The island comprises just 0.77 square miles of granite rock with a lighthouse which rises 52 meters above sea level, the tallest in Scandinavia. In every direction there is open water, small islands scatter the horizon.
What intrigued me about the landscape was the barrenness, the stripped down simplicity of the granite rocks and the changing moods of the surrounding sea. I was fascinated by the everpresent light illuminating the nightless nights.
During my time at Bengtskär I filmed and recorded the soundscape of the island for the short film “The Old Woman” which is part of the upcoming Kaiku series. The film is an exploration of solitude through sound and image and portrays the landscape of an old woman called Aino’s soul. “The Old Woman” is the first short film from the Kaiku series and is based on the book titled Kaiku, which is now available to preorder in hardback form, and a two-part diary of my time on the island can be read here.
Milla Koivisto is an adventuress, multidisciplinary artist and writer from Finland. Milla was brought up on a small island in the Baltic Sea and has a keen interest in the natural world. She is currently working on the multidisciplinary Kaiku project, inspired by the islands of the Finnish archipelago. You can find out more about her work at www.millakoivisto.com.