Biennale of Sydney

Sissel M Bergh

Sissel M Bergh, #Tjaetsie / knowhowknow, 2017. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Office of Contemporary Art Norway. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Alex Robinson.
Sissel M Bergh, #Tjaetsie / knowhowknow, 2017. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Office of Contemporary Art Norway. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Alex Robinson.
Sissel M Bergh, #Tjaetsie / knowhowknow, 2017. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Office of Contemporary Art Norway. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Alex Robinson.

Sissel M. Bergh

Born 1974 in Tråante / Trondheim, Saepmie / Norway
Lives and work in Tråante and itinerantly
From south-western Sápmi


“We have lived with and off the sea for thousands of years – how is this relationship changing? Contemporary ways of human living have far-reaching consequences for other forms of life. Violence is at the core of our economic relationship with fish, animals and plants and is widely acknowledged as unavoidable and unproblematic. The old protector, the goddess of our ocean Gorrijh gujne / spawning lady, is watching. We have forgotten to listen. Birredh birredh dallah: Please come now to our rescue.”

Sissel M. Bergh is a Sami film maker and artist who explores knowledge systems and their relationship to the physical world in which we live. Tjaetsie is a visual and sonic journey into the aquatic world that has nourished Sami people for thousands of years. Journeying below the surface of the ocean, Bergh’s film shifts the frame to explore worlds otherwise invisible to us, inviting us to listen to Gorriijh guine, goddess of the ocean. As part of this political and poetic engagement with the ocean we meet the creatures who live in and around it, as well as fishermen, scientists, fish farmers, and boat builders. A soundtrack by composer Maja Solveig Kjeldstrup Ratkje utilises recordings made from 200 metres below the surface.

Sissel M. Bergh is an interdisciplinary artist / dáiddar, whose work centres on language and landscape, knowledge systems and relations to the surrounding world. As a part of her practice, she collects traces of Sámi culture on the coast of Møre and Trøndelag, to problematise and question the (in)visibility of the Sámi presence in the official narratives of these areas. How does the production of history influence our today and tomorrow?

Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Office of Contemporary Art Norway. Courtesy the artist.

Exhibited at

Exhibited Artwork

Sissel M Bergh, #Tjaetsie / knowhowknow, 2017, single-channel digital video, colour, sound 18:02 mins. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Office of Contemporary Art Norway. Courtesy the artist.

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Cockatoo Island