Original Music and Conceptual Art beneath the Atlantic Ocean:

Two of Faroe Islands most prominent artists have collaborated to create unique sound and vision installations which will stimulate the imagination of travellers journeying along the world’s 2nd longest road-traffic tunnel which opened December 21, 2023. New music by Sunleif Rasmussen1 and a series of ten paintings by Edward Fuglø2 were commissioned by the Faroese ‘Tunnil’ company (www.tunnil.fo) to enrich the sensory experience of driving under the Atlantic Ocean between the islands of Streymoy and Sandoy.

Undersea Music

Using FM broadcasting, drivers will be able to listen on their car sound system to ‘The Voices’, a synthesised composition by Rasmussen which began with recordings he made of the sound of water droplets seeping into the tunnel when it was under construction.

I could not refuse such an unusual commission,” Rasmussen explains. “And, as I live on Sandoy much of the time, the idea of being part of this historic project was especially enjoyable. I thought for a long time about how to construct the composition, and finally I dreamed one night I was in the tunnel with a famous Faroese singer, Fríðbjørg Jensen. It was the starting point for what would become the melody in the new piece.

The resulting composition, (approximately 12’20” long) matches the driving time from the ferry port at Gamlarætt until you emerge above ground at Traðardali – almost exactly half-way between Sandoy’s main settlements at Skopun and Sandur. “It’s intended to be an atmospheric piece, slightly melancholic, and somehow capturing that unnerving feeling of being under the sea,” Rasmussen says. “Our Faroese landscape and our weather often evoke such feelings.”

‘The Voices’ will play on a continuous loop on frequency FM100 – www.tunnil.fo

Undersea Paintings

Using state-of-the-art techniques incorporating GOBO projection technology, visitors to the tunnel will be presented with a series of ten vivid illustrations along the route, painted by the renowned artist Edward Fuglø. Using a bold graphic style and brilliant colours the images stand out with great power on the dark tunnel walls. They depict legends include tales of battles, the magical mountain people the huldufólk, ancient kings and sea monsters. Many of these ancient stories take place on Sandoy. Details of all the legends portrayed are available at: www.tunnil.fo

My work is always heavily contextual, and I hope these paintings, inspired by Faroese legends, will be decorative, but also somehow iconic and symbolic as people move through this long tunnel which to me seems like a technological masterpiece in its own right. The darkness of a tunnel recalls the darkness of some of our national folk stories, but I am painting with light. I also wanted to produce something playful, and of course the notion of being ‘underground’ made me think of the ancient human instinct to produce cave art,” says Fuglø. “Driving through the tunnel we are, in a sense, passing through time, moving faster between the islands than our ancestors could ever have dreamed. A century ago, it used to take my grandmother three days and several boat journeys to travel from Klaksvik to Tórshavn. She could never have imagined driving under the sea.

These paintings also pay homage to a founding figure in Faroese art history. You will see that all of the paintings contain little birds, and the very last image travellers will see is filled with birds. They were inspired by the Faroes’ very oldest pieces of representational art – the bird paintings of Diðrikur á Skarvanes (1802-1865), a self taught artist who lived on Sandoy.”

1Sunleif Rasmussen (b.1961) studied composition at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, winning the Nordic Council Music Prize for his Symphony No.1 ‘Oceanic Days’.  He has received grants from the Danish State Arts Foundation, and in 2010 he was awarded the Faroese Cultural Prize from the Department of Culture. He combines a jazz background with the traditions of Faroese folk influenced by electro acoustic and spectral music. He lives on Sandoy island and has said he finds much inspiration in the work of the Faroese author William Heinesen.

2Edward Fuglø (b.1965) is a prolific contemporary artist working in graphic design, set and film design, book illustration as well as contemporary paintings, conceptual installations and sculpture. Born in Klaksvik he was educated at the Danish School of Art, Crafts and Design in Copenhagen. He has exhibited widely across Scandinavia, Greenland and Iceland winning acclaim for his book illustrations including the Nordic Book Award (2001).

The Sandoy tunnel is the second phase of a massive infrastructural project costing 2,600million DKK (approx. 350M Euros) which began in 2017 with the Eysturoy tunnel (opened December 2020). Construction on the Sandoy tunnel began in June 2019, with official opening 21st December 2023.

The newest sub-sea tunnel links the islands of Streymoy and Sandoy. Starting beside the ferry port at Gamlarætt, the 10,8km long tunnel replaces the old ferry route and brings residents of Sandoy within thirty minutes drive of the Faroes capital Tórshavn 24 hours per day, seven days per week.


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content design: Johanna Fischer for Visit Faroe Islands Meetings, 03.01.2024