The Witch Trails of Vardø

90 minutes walk performance, Summer Solstice Performance. June 2021

The Witch Trails: Walk Performance Vardø, Finnmark. 20.06.2021.
stills from video documentation by Trond Ansten

The Witch Trails Project is affiliated with the Invisibledrum Platform, it proposes an artistic discourse about our reciprocal relationship with nature and medicinal practices of herb-craft. It explores people’s relationships with ecology, ethnobotany, popular storytelling, history, and magic. It seeks to reimagine history, embody knowledge through neo-pharmacopeias, herb craft, and practices of magic. The Norwegian collaboration of the project is rooted in the historical archives of witch trials and other manuscripts from Finnmark. The artists involved are; Nazare Soares, Amalia Fonfara, Marita Solberg, and Jessica Ullevålseter.
The Norwegian north research phase of the project was created in collaboration with Varanger Museum, Kurant, and Polar Film Lab, and supported by KulturrĂĽdet, Norske Billedkunstnere, Fritt Ord, Fond for lyd og bilde, Nordic Culturefond, and Troms and Finnmark Fylkeskommune.

Solstice performance at the old fortress in Vardø took place on the 20th of June. We brought waters from springs and rivers, sands, salts, swan feathers, rye flour, an egg, willow, Alchemilla, pine, and other magick beings from the Varanger peninsula. We mix all into an earth dough and offered to the sea where the witch trials and water ordeals took place 400 hundred years ago, we return the sea waters of unity and love to the land where the fortress used to be. Then we walk the trails to the Steilneset Memorial, honouring the plants and offering them to the eternal flame ( Louise Bourgeois’s last major installation, “The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved” ) for all the trauma and pain is concentrated into the magick healing drop of water of Alchemilla Vulgaris. One tear Unites healing for our reconnection to medicine and the land. We have collected the dew of the magick plants to offer it to the eternal flame, fire and water to create the spirit, into a renewal elemental form.

During The persecution of ‘witches’ in Finnmark. 135 persons were tried, Witch 91 were executed. We are connecting this history with the present time, opening the land memory that is claiming to be acknowledged and be cared for so to celebrate the flourishing of the Nordic plants, the midnight sun, the Solstice new cycle of the sun, and the fertility through the bee buzz. We celebrate life and deep thanks to everyone who attended and all those who are supporting this project. The Witch Trails Project proposes an artistic discourse about our reciprocal relationship to nature and medical practice.

More information about the project follow the link below: