The Terrestrial Sea


The Cromarty Firth is an inlet of the North Sea in the Highlands of Scotland. It is an important and protected natural habitat of seabirds and marine mammals, yet it is also an essential berth of the Oil and Tourism industries. Based in a field station ideally located at the Cromarty Lighthouse, Ecologists from the University of Aberdeen study how natural and man-made environmental changes influence the behaviour and populations of the Firth’s protected species.

In 2012, Mark Lyken was Artist in residence at the Lighthouse Field Station where he worked alongside the Ecologists and recorded The Terrestrial Sea album. He returned to Cromarty in 2014 to work on a companion film with regular collaborator Emma Dove.

The Terrestrial Sea is the culmination of that work, highlighting the diverse and ever-changing environments that the Ecologists are studying through music and film.

HD | Colour | 46min 40s | 2 x 16:9 & 32:9 | Stereo & 5.1 Surround | Scotland, 2015

Available versions: Theatrical Short; Installation; Audiovisual Performance


“Genuinely breathtaking” - Aesthetica Magazine 

“A surrealistic meditation on the way that different environments encroach on each other" - Financial Times 

“A stellar, touching release" - Fluid Radio


Directed by Emma Dove | Mark Lyken

Music by Mark Lyken

A Cryptic Commission For Sonica

Supported by Cryptic, Iota, The University Of Aberdeen, Creative Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, CMMAS, Anglo Arts and Important Records

Rio Performance photography © Renan Lima 

Installations & Screenings:

2016 Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Borders, Scotland (Installation)

2015 EAFS Environmental Arts Festival, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland (Installation)

2015 Voices from the Water International Film Festival. Bangalore, India (Screening)

2014 Premiere, Multiplicidade Audio Visual Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (Installation)



2016 CMMAS, Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts, Morelia, Mexico (Surround Sound)

2016 Filmhouse Cinema, Made in Scotland Showcase, Edinburgh Fringe, Scotland (Surround Sound)

2015 Sonica Festival, Glasgow

2014 Premiere, Multiplicidade Audio Visual Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

2013 "Sublime", Inverness Cathedral, Inverness, Scotland