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Kunuussuaq

2017

Kunuussuaq

2017



Fishing for friends

 


Kunuussuaq was made in 2017 when Paalu was a fisherman.
This piece is dedicated to his former coworker Knud, better known as Kunuussuaq. The material consists of pictures captured on a ship Paalu worked on for 3 years.

 

  • - The picture in the middle is taken in Prince Christians Sound — a shortcut passage in southern Greenland where 200 foot long ships are belittled by the 7000 foot tall mountain ranges walling the passage with enormous glacier heads bursting through them.

  •  
  • - The cutouts of fish stem from photos taken inside of the ship’s fish factory, able to produce around 100 kilo tonnes of frozen fish product daily.

  •  
  • - The purple circle around the middle picture is a duplicated cutout of Paalu’s eyes inside the -38 C storage freezer beneath the factory, able to store up to 630 kilo tonnes of frozen fish product.

  •  
  •  

    Paalu certainly accumulated many experiences at sea, but he mostly cherishes the friendships gained with those experiences, since it was out on the big blue puddle where he discovered the fisherman Kunuussuaq.

  •  
  • ________________________________________________

  •  
  •  

    It was the 18th of July 2016 when Paalu first embarked the ship at the harbor of Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. Kunuussuaq, the deck boss, had already worked on the ship for 16 years when Paalu stepped on his deck for the first time.
    They shared no common interests, but spoke the same language and lived in the same country.
    It didn’t bring them any closer, as Paalu couldn’t understand a word of what he said.
    His sentences were cryptic, but his coworkers could clearly understand every sentence.
    They understood, but not because they spoke the same language.

  •  
  •  

    In the first month, Paalu sat dead quiet at the dinner table where he ate with his team 6 times a day.
    The many meals were standard since there was a heavy workload; making food into fuel to the fishermen. Those attempting to skip a meal were utterly encouraged to cram down food — since a skipped meal would result in instant fatigue and a drowsy coworker.

 

The first week felt like a month, and an hour felt like three in the storage freezer, where he could be found lifting tonnes of frozen mackerel for several hours.
Paalu had just graduated business school in Copenhagen when he boarded the ship.
His summer days were crammed with parties, beach trips, concerts, and however the freedom of a young graduate could be summoned in the capital of Denmark.

In contrast, the freezer felt like being in jail.

He was convinced the first week, that life at sea was nothing for him.
The fishermen were just a different breed of people he didn’t belong to.
He was satisfied having a feeble city boy identity amongst hardworking fishermen from the rough outskirts of Greenland.
At one point he was so desperate, he held fantasies about a ‘sudden’ injury needing the attention of an on shore doctor, also bringing a liberating end to his off shore journey.

 

But the days went by and fantasies of self-harm vanished.
The work became less demanding as every fish got lighter, every hour seemed shorter, and every shift became more enjoyable.

There was a competitive spirit by the packing station in the factory.
The two teams competed by tonnes produced in each shift, sometimes packing 30 kilo tonnes in a single shift.
When the teams swapped, tired morning faces were met with sweaty faces and enthusiastic howls.
But admirable teamwork still took place between the competition.
When all agreed to work a little harder, they hit the 100 tonnes mark.
Yet it didn’t only require hard working ethic, but it demanded a collective agreement on setting aside quibbles and slack.

Paalu increased his speed overall and it earned him respect amongst his colleagues, giving him the courage to participate in factory banter and dinner conversations.


He started taking interest in the lives of the fishermen, who all had different identities ashore.
Besides Kunuussuaq, who had spent more time on the ship than he had stood on dry land.

He was even crowned as the father of the ship amongst fishermen.
He was kind, loving, and goofed around with everyone — but held dead serious standards. Hell would break loose when a poorly tied knot was found on his deck.

All coworkers had a Kunuussuaq story, since he had his own way of doing things.
Being off shore for so long gave him unusual routines; like how much coffee he consumed, or how much sugar he put in his coffee.
If the man drank tea it would break the news.
He even had reserved positions at the packing station where he would tell anyone to scoop over.
And anyone yielded to his command.
No one were foolish enough to dispute Big Knut.

 

Kunuussuaq was something else.
He has been a fisherman for most of his life and has no teeth.
His arms are ordinary in size, but he is strong as a bull.
He has worked more in his life than he has taken time off.
He has been employed longer than any other crew member on the ship.

Paalu worked closely with Kunuussuaq for many months.
They became close friends, calling each other on FaceTime to catch up whenever they’re not catching fish together.
Paalu grew to understand Kunuussuaq.
Not because he got used to his dialect or learned new words.
But because he learned what it meant to be a fisherman.

Kunuussuaq was made in 2017 when Paalu was a fisherman.
This piece is dedicated to his former coworker Knud, better known as Kunuussuaq. The material consists of pictures captured on a ship Paalu worked on for 3 years.

 

  • - The picture in the middle is taken in Prince Christians Sound — a shortcut passage in southern Greenland where 200 foot long ships are belittled by the 7000 foot tall mountain ranges walling the passage with enormous glacier heads bursting through them.

  •  
  • - The cutouts of fish stem from photos taken inside of the ship’s fish factory, able to produce around 100 kilo tonnes of frozen fish product daily.

  •  
  • - The purple circle around the middle picture is a duplicated cutout of Paalu’s eyes inside the -38 C storage freezer beneath the factory, able to store up to 630 kilo tonnes of frozen fish product.

  •  
  •  

    Paalu certainly accumulated many experiences at sea, but he mostly cherishes the friendships gained with those experiences, since it was out on the big blue puddle where he discovered the fisherman Kunuussuaq.

  •  
  • ________________________________________________

  •  
  •  

    It was the 18th of July 2016 when Paalu first embarked the ship at the harbor of Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. Kunuussuaq, the deck boss, had already worked on the ship for 16 years when Paalu stepped on his deck for the first time.
    They shared no common interests, but spoke the same language and lived in the same country.
    It didn’t bring them any closer, as Paalu couldn’t understand a word of what he said.
    His sentences were cryptic, but his coworkers could clearly understand every sentence.
    They understood, but not because they spoke the same language.

  •  
  •  

    In the first month, Paalu sat dead quiet at the dinner table where he ate with his team 6 times a day.
    The many meals were standard since there was a heavy workload; making food into fuel to the fishermen. Those attempting to skip a meal were utterly encouraged to cram down food — since a skipped meal would result in instant fatigue and a drowsy coworker.

 

The first week felt like a month, and an hour felt like three in the storage freezer, where he could be found lifting tonnes of frozen mackerel for several hours.
Paalu had just graduated business school in Copenhagen when he boarded the ship.
His summer days were crammed with parties, beach trips, concerts, and however the freedom of a young graduate could be summoned in the capital of Denmark.

In contrast, the freezer felt like being in jail.

He was convinced the first week, that life at sea was nothing for him.
The fishermen were just a different breed of people he didn’t belong to.
He was satisfied having a feeble city boy identity amongst hardworking fishermen from the rough outskirts of Greenland.
At one point he was so desperate, he held fantasies about a ‘sudden’ injury needing the attention of an on shore doctor, also bringing a liberating end to his off shore journey.

 

But the days went by and fantasies of self-harm vanished.
The work became less demanding as every fish got lighter, every hour seemed shorter, and every shift became more enjoyable.

There was a competitive spirit by the packing station in the factory.
The two teams competed by tonnes produced in each shift, sometimes packing 30 kilo tonnes in a single shift.
When the teams swapped, tired morning faces were met with sweaty faces and enthusiastic howls.
But admirable teamwork still took place between the competition.
When all agreed to work a little harder, they hit the 100 tonnes mark.
Yet it didn’t only require hard working ethic, but it demanded a collective agreement on setting aside quibbles and slack.

Paalu increased his speed overall and it earned him respect amongst his colleagues, giving him the courage to participate in factory banter and dinner conversations.


He started taking interest in the lives of the fishermen, who all had different identities ashore.
Besides Kunuussuaq, who had spent more time on the ship than he had stood on dry land.

He was even crowned as the father of the ship amongst fishermen.
He was kind, loving, and goofed around with everyone — but held dead serious standards. Hell would break loose when a poorly tied knot was found on his deck.

All coworkers had a Kunuussuaq story, since he had his own way of doing things.
Being off shore for so long gave him unusual routines; like how much coffee he consumed, or how much sugar he put in his coffee.
If the man drank tea it would break the news.
He even had reserved positions at the packing station where he would tell anyone to scoop over.
And anyone yielded to his command.
No one were foolish enough to dispute Big Knut.

 

Kunuussuaq was something else.
He has been a fisherman for most of his life and has no teeth.
His arms are ordinary in size, but he is strong as a bull.
He has worked more in his life than he has taken time off.
He has been employed longer than any other crew member on the ship.

Paalu worked closely with Kunuussuaq for many months.
They became close friends, calling each other on FaceTime to catch up whenever they’re not catching fish together.
Paalu grew to understand Kunuussuaq.
Not because he got used to his dialect or learned new words.
But because he learned what it meant to be a fisherman.

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