An Interview with Karin Lundengård, commission winner

One of the highlights of Get a Word in Edgeways festival 13th-15th October will be our commission premiere from Swedish storyteller Karin Lundengård.

The Step Up Commission has been created by Gawie and the House of the West Wind: College of Storytelling.

Claire Mace, our Festival Producer, asked Karin to tell us more about her performance:

* How did you come up with the name “When the Water Turns Blue”?

This will be answered in the show, so I don’t want to give too much away, but it has to do with warnings and being able to read the signs of impending catastrophe!

* What is the show about?

To me, it is about memory and the plasticity of time, and how we treat information. How can our knowledge and memory carry beyond our own lifetimes?
It is also about our responsibility to care for the future and to see the care that others, who are no longer here, have given us. 

* Who or what has influenced you as a storyteller?

I cannot remember a time when I did not love stories, in particular the ones that explained how things were created (be they true or not).  

Long before I knew that there was a research field called geomythology, I was fascinated by those who found evidence that old legends were true. 

Some of my idols are Carl Sagan (for his ability to order facts into a narrative that makes sense) and Neil Gaiman (for his ability to build worlds), and I have just discovered Juliana Marin (for the raw power of her storytelling and her defiant belief in peace).

* In what ways has the support from the Step Up Commission from Get a Word in Edgeways and the House of the West Wind: College of Storytelling helped you develop the piece?

It would not have happened without them! I didn’t even have any idea how to start. The continuous discussions and exercises with Amelia and Shonaleigh have really helped concretise it and given me space to try out different shapes. Having a goal and deadline to work towards but not the hassle of booking a venue or doing my own publicity is such a privilege. 

* What’s your interest in nuclear waste?

I still have not found a way to really understand the timespans involved, and how that relates to my daily life and energy use. It’s a tug-of-war between fear and fascination about a danger that we cannot register with our senses until after the damage is already done.  

* How are science and storytelling linked?

For this piece I have collaborated with researchers at Linköping university, in both Radiology and in Nuclear Informatics.
Science and art are two sides of the same coin, they both try to understand the world. I believe that if the purpose of research is to discover and invent new things, the first step to doing that is to be able to imagine something that has never been seen before, something that has never existed before.
It is the people who create and enjoy theatre, books, music, stories, role-playing, dance and all the other thousands of artistic expressions that build paths into new worlds, who will train our new researchers in that most basic feature of research. 

* What did you learn when creating this piece?

I learned a lot of new facts about epidemics, nuclear radiation, airplane accidents, and other catastrophes… it would have been easier to go to sleep if I had never learned them!

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