What do dinoflagellates, green sea turtles’ movements in the sand and the shells of crabs sound like? In the darkness of Havremagasinet’s basement, you are able to listen to the rare sound of music made by marine imaginary, crafted in the form of an opera.

A 3D sculpture of a microscopic organism glows with neon blue light. A wall drips with magnified condensation, on which are shown microscopic water organisms at even greater magnification. A pair of hands, detached from the body, rolls its thumbs in a loop – the hands’ skin is no longer a barrier between the interior and exterior, instead it fuses with an environment of streams, organisms and toxins such as rain from Chernobyl, microscopic creatures and luminous plankton.

Susanne M. Winterling’s artistic practice is a negotiation between representation and reality. In her mainly time-based works, she plays with our expectations and preconceptions about what is organic and what is chemical, what is nature and what is culture. Over several years Winterling has studied dinoflagellates, a species of microscopic organism which are found in both lakes and in seas, some glowing all seasons particularly in tropical areas. When stimulated – for example by movement made by boats or swimmers skin – the dinoflagellates create a blue luminescence which is visible at night. Winterling is interested in this reflective effect of human touch, in relation to the surface of the sea as well as the digital screen, both movements of the hand generating reactions and light.

In the body of work on display at Havremagasinet, predetermined ideas about the distinctions between what is human, natural or inanimate, can be reconsidered. Using the language given by digital technology, Winterling opens up possibilities which bring us closer to natural systems, seen through the prism of the oceans’ smallest inhabitant.

Susanne M. Winterling is an artist and professor at Trondheim Academy of the Arts based and born in Rehau/Oberfranken.