Matthew Cowan

Horn Calls (2017)

4 min 14 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

The sounds of tuohitorvi - traditional Finnish birch bark horns, played by their maker, Minna Hokka. Horns such as these were traditionally a farm hands’ instrument played to make signals to other workers and to scare off dangerous predators.

First presented during para field notes, Photographic Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki, Finland, April 6 -22, 2018. The exhibition takes its title from 'para', the supernatural milk stealers of Nordic folklore. These mythological beings preceded the arrival of Christianity in Finland and can be seen, depicted as devils, on the interior of the church at Kalanti, Southwest Finland. The show deals with the presentation of some aspects of the folklore of the rural springtime - a time when animals are released into the open from winter barns and male snakes emerge from their winter subterranean hibernation. Video works contain the sounds of folk songs and traditional birch bark horns, played alongside the ringing of the Easter church bells at Kalanti. At its core, belief in this kind of folk knowledge - belies a deeply human need to subvert the unknown forces that guide fate.

Other works by Matthew Cowan

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