Artist Sissel Mutuale Bergh describes her latest film, Elmie (2023) – a Southern Sámi word meaning sky, air and storm – as a documentary poem and a lamentation on air, breath, birds, mountains and wind power.
For several years, Bergh has followed the construction of – and opposition to – industrial windfarms at Fovsen/Fosen while also tracing the presence of Southern Sámi along the coast in the regions of Møre and Trøndelag. Documenting the importance of Sámi culture past and present, Bergh examines Sàmi place names, words, sacred and sacrificial sites, mountains, memories and myths to reveal how the Southern Sámi language acts as a key to uncovering the past, thereby helping us reconnect with the land and all its inhabitants – including the non-human. Can we rediscover the magic that enables us all to live with as well as within our surroundings?
Elmie is the second instalment in the artist’s short film series knowhowknow (2018–ongoing), which examines how we understand the world. The films all revolve around the geographical area that extends from Frohavet, off the coast of Trøndelag, to the mountains bordering Jämtland in Sweden. Elmie recently premiered as part of the group exhibition Giltebe! (Glitter!), at LevArt in Levanger, which celebrated the town officially being bestowed with the Southern Sámi name of Levangke. The first film in the series was Tjaetsie (Water, 2018).