Blind Cave Salamander

Completely adapted to eternal darkness, the human fish hides in the depths of underground sources far from our inquisitive gaze. The pale skin contains no pigment and the tiny eyes can be seen only at the foetal stage. Later they athropy and skin grows over them. Approximately 25 cm long, with a flat tail surrounded by a skin-like fin, used for swimming, it is snake-like and this is the reason for its Latin species name anguinus (anguis = snake). It can also move using two pairs of legs – the front ones have three digits and the hind ones two. The entire body is more or less sensitive to light environment. It breathes in three ways. It has an excellent sense of smell and it probably also has a highly specialised sense for weak electric currents, which could partly explain its orientation abilities in the total darkness of the cave. On either side of its body, at the back of its head, there are three pairs of extended gills which have excellent blood circulation and are therefore of a bright red colour. In addition it has simple lungs, and when out of water it also breathes through its skin, for we must not forget that almost absolute humidity prevails in the cave environment.
It eats small animals, such as cave shrimps, amphipods and the larvae of various insects. Sometimes, under the cover of the night, human fish swim to the cave exit where they hunt for small surface water animals. Cannibalism is not unusual in mocherils either, but a fully-grown animal can naturaly only attack very small young, as its blunt muzzle and small teeth make it no fearsome predator. Proteus has always caused great fascination, since it can remain in captivity without food for an incredibly long period. Reliable and documented reports by various observers are known about their ability to go without food, the longest such period having gone on at the Faculty of Biotechnology for the last 12 years. It sounds impossible, but at the same time we know proteus’ metabolism must be extremely decelerated, since the human fish reaches sexual maturity only at the age of 16 to 18 years and it may even reach the grand old age of 100. A special chapter in the history of research into the human fish deals with the mysterious question of the animal’s reproduction. Diver have swam through kilometres of siphons and underground lakes, researchers have turned countless stones, but so far nobody has seen where or how the life of this mysterious creature begins. We can only assume that proteus reproduces deep down in the peaceful and inaccessible watercourses of the karst underground.

BLIND CAVE SALAMANDER is a project by Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo and Paul Beauchamp
An unusual mix of electronica, strings and guitars, drones and field recordings; a collection of finely wrought sounds that at times lean towards hypnotic lullabies and at others towards abstraction. A hybrid of the natural and the synthetic of which, like the Proteus, the pale-skinned, cave-dwelling amphibian that lends its name to the project, BIind Cave Salamander unravel shadowy, nocturnal landscapes

The Svalbard Suite
by Blind Cave Salamander