The Mid Atlantic Rift practically splits the earth from pole to pole and Iceland is the only place where it rises above sea level creating swarms of fissures where the American plate and European/African continental plate are splitting apart. I will be creating two installations, one at the south shore of the mid Atlantic rift and the other at the north shore.
‘Heal 1’ (south shore Iceland )
I met with UNESCO Geopark, in Iceland last August, and have received permission to install a temporary, interactive work on the Bridge Between Continents, a walking bridge spanning the Álfagjá rift valley (60 feet wide and 20 feet deep) connecting the American and European plates. The ocean is visible from the bridge and the surrounding desolate land is only 750 years old.
“Heal” builds on the bridge’s basic idea of joining the continents by shifting its purpose to alleviating universal suffering. I would use white medical tape on the two flat surfaces on either edge of the Bridge Between Continents spanning the entire structure indicating an effort to bandage the world’s wounds. I would provide red artist oil sticks to people visiting the bridge, inviting them to declare their desires for themselves, the earth, or any issue in need of hope and repair by writing on the medical tape. There will be a panel of instructions in the five most spoken languages: Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Hindi, and English, plus Icelandic. The work will be up for two or three weeks.
150,000 people visit the Geopark each year, which means the work could ‘capture’ an audience of 2000 to 5000 people during it’s 2 to 3 week tenure.
‘Heal 2’ (north shore Iceland )
I will find a small rift and conduct a simple, formal, videotaped performance/ritual. Here I require your participation. In the ceremony I will name donor and their wish, which I will have transferred to special paper, for up to 300 people. After the wishes are verbalized they will be dropped into the crevice, covered with a gold rescue blanket, and then soil and/or rock. It will become a private, invisible, buried cache of hope and desire.
“Heal” pulls together multiple thematic strands of my art work, including the sublime, the social, the personal, and the environmental, to create a romantic desire to mend the world on every level. However it also suggests a kind of global palliative care. Attempting to keep tectonic plates and therefore continents from separating using materials that suggest a medical remedy is an obvious, but perhaps powerful metaphor. That power relies on the site itself. Considering the concealed nature of this most intense force on earth, the rift’s dynamism is only truly understood in our imagination, bringing an underlying sublime sensibility to the project.My interest in the sublime landscape developed from studying geology, particularly plate tectonics, my time in the high arctic islands scientific camps, and with the shield volcanoes in Hawaii, as well as early 19thcentury romantic landscape painting. To be able to physically address the invisible plate tectonics of the earth is a kind of personal ultimate endeavour.
We live in a terrifying time when fools have their fingers on the button, climate change is here, resources are being depleted, the environment is degrading, and political unrest and public fear could deeply erode our humanity. At the same time loneliness, displacement, and disconnection are soul destroying and rampant. Heal I and II suggest comfort and hope against hope regarding these universal difficulties, and the possibility of continuing to care in spite of a failing world.
In addition I am at an age where grief becomes part of life. I have lost several people in the last few years. There is a deep sense of personal pilgrimage and possible renewal for me.