SONG ABOUT THE LAST STELLER'S SEA COW, 2021
Eight-hour performance by Anna Salmane and Signe Valtiņa, music performed by Uģis Krišjānis
At the Latvian National Museum of Natural History
Photographs by Kristine-Madjare
In 1976 Regīna Ezera wrote a short story called “Song About the Last Steller's Sea Cow”. This is a story about a very large sea mammal – Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas), a species which were once found only around the Commander Islands in the Bering Sea. Steller’s sea cow was destroyed by poachers in the 18th century – 30 years before they were first discovered by the researchers of the Arctic. Although manatees inhabited the Earth for over tens of thousands of years and they, perhaps, might have had the potential to one day become the first domesticated water animals, the man, upon discovering their juicy meat and the legends surrounding their medicinal fat, doomed their existence. Officially, every year dozens of animal species become extinct due to direct or indirect human activity, however, the real number is closer to several thousands of species.
This performance will be akin to a farewell feast for the already extinct and the dying species, a ritual appealing to the cravings and insatiability of humans, and the fragility of life.
Performance was commissioned by Punctum Magazine for Regīna Ezera Festival.
The whole performance can be viewed HERE.