Radio Shaman, 2006

Radio Sham­an, 2006

Digit­al video, HD 1920 × 1080 16:9
09:35 min
Filmed in Stavanger, Norway
Cam­era and sound by Calum Stirling
Pro­duc­tion Coordin­at­or: Torunn Larsen
Pro­duced by Roga­land Kun­st­senter, Stavanger, Norway
Com­mis­sioned by Liv­er­pool Bien­ni­al 06 and Roga­land Kunstsenter

Cli­ent: Res­id­ents of the city of Stavanger, Norway 

Loc­a­tions: Stavanger, Nor­way (NRK Radio Sta­tion, Stavanger Domkirke Cathed­ral, City Mayor’s office, Sex Work­er locations) 

Ques­tion: What can be done about the pros­ti­tu­tion and people traf­fick­ing here in Stavanger?

One of the main issues facing Stavanger dur­ing Coates’s vis­its was the recent influx of West Afric­an women work­ing as pros­ti­tutes in the city. Coates engaged with this by con­sult­ing loc­al journ­al­ists, street priests, politi­cians, Stavanger police, the City Mayor’s polit­ic­al advisors, pros­ti­tutes and mem­bers of the pub­lic, to learn as much as he could about it. Then, dressed in a stag skin and a busi­ness suit, he per­formed a series of rituals in the Cathed­ral, Mayor’s office and red light dis­trict. The video fol­lows Coates as he reports his find­ings to the city via a live radio interview.

[NRK Radio Sta­tion: Mar­cus Coates is wear­ing suit, stag pelt and hare head and car­ry­ing a stuffed hare. Music play­ing (broad­cast). The presenter wel­comes MC to the stu­dio and intro­duces the pro­ject in Norwegian.]

Presenter: What kind of per­form­ance will you be doing in Stavanger these days?

MAR­CUS COATES: I work as a sham­an. A sham­an is tra­di­tion­ally someone how works with their com­munity and helps solve prob­lems that it’s very dif­fi­cult to find solu­tions for.

Presenter: And what kind of prob­lems are you going to solve for the Stavanger community?

MC: I came to Stavanger earli­er in the year and I asked people what kind of prob­lems do you have here. The prob­lem that kept com­ing up, more than any­thing, was the recent influx of pros­ti­tutes from Niger­ia and West Africa.

Presenter: And what are you going to do with that situation?

MC: I devised a ritu­al. I’ve gone round the city to spe­cif­ic sites: the spir­itu­al centre which is the cathed­ral; the polit­ic­al centre – the coun­cil offices; and I’ve gone to the streets where the pros­ti­tutes work and I per­formed a ritu­al at each of these points.

[We see MC walk­ing down the aisle of the cathed­ral, per­form­ing his ritu­al in the assist­ant mayor’s office and on the street corner used by pros­ti­tutes. We hear the Cathed­ral organ music.]

Presenter: And what kind of things are you doing, Mar­cus Coates?

MC: I talked to a deer, a badger, seals, birds – all these animals.

Presenter: And what res­ults from these talks with the animals?

MC: Many of these anim­als show me signs: the seal was very significant.

Presenter: And why was the seal so import­ant for you?

MC: I kept com­ing across this seal over and over again. It was on the sand by the sea and it was a young seal, it had white fur and it was obvi­ously stran­ded. I wanted to help it back into the water, but if I touched it, it would bite me and I could see its par­ents in the water. If I got near it, I would have scared the par­ents, so I felt very help­less in this situ­ation. I really wanted to help but I didn’t under­stand the com­plex­ity of what was going on. I’m inter­ested in how this vis­ion relates to the pros­ti­tute problem.

Presenter: And what’s your solu­tion on the pros­ti­tutes from Stavanger?

MC: I am not com­par­ing a baby seal with a pros­ti­tute. I am empath­ising with the feel­ings of power­less­ness the com­munity have over this issue. It feels as if no-one has an answer, no-one knows what to do about this prob­lem. Because of my exper­i­ence with the seal, I under­stand it can be very dan­ger­ous to help or res­cue a situ­ation you don’t under­stand. Stavanger needs to under­stand the com­plex­ity of the prob­lem. I feel you need to travel to Niger­ia, talk to people there, find out about the prob­lem, and bring people from Niger­ia to Stavanger to talk to about this and help.

(Tran­script excerpt)

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