My work explores the relationship between geological phenomena and daily life. Whether boiling milk in a 100 degree Celsius sulfur spring in the crater of an active volcano or celebrating my birthday with a landmass of the same age, the geologic history and environmental situation specific to the locale directly informs the direction each piece takes.
Recent projects take as a starting point a personal experience with an unexpected geological phenomenon. Increasingly interconnected events of a political, historical and everyday nature are progressively drawn together to form a narrative. Each story explores the changeable nature of landmass, using geology as a language to understand our relationship to a constantly evolving world.
To describe, in 2003 I turned 30. To mark this event, I visited the Eldfell volcano in Iceland, celebrating our simultaneous appearance in 1973. This project, entitled Nomadic Landmass, followed a chain of events including field work in Mammoth Cave, the longest cave in the world; a conversation about a crystal shard with a geologist in Glasgow; an interview with an Arctic explorer in Lapland, who later went missing en-route to the North Pole and an inexplicable connection with a German baker who lived at the foot of Eldfell.
Nomadic Landmass included photographic images taken en-route to Eldfell from the window of a small plane; drawings inspired by the Heimaey eruption; geological specimens (one of which was found at the top of the Eldfell volcano), a small book outlining the story of the project and footage of the actual 1973 eruption and evacuation of the island.
The project Emergent Landmass (a chronicle of disappearance) takes the island of Ferdinandea as its starting point, charting the history of a territory that no longer exists. In 1831, the island appeared off the southern coast of Sicily, sparking an international dispute over territorial ownership of this strategically positioned heap of young geology. Before any serious conflicts developed, the island disappeared, crumbling back into the sea. Drawings attempting to describe the perpetual formation and erosion of new landmass, a text and the only remaining mineral samples of Ferdinandea, which were taken in 1831 when it was still above water, all feature.
Whilst searching for news of Ferdinandea, I discovered an early volcanologist named Angelo Heilprin. Though he may be a distant relative, it is definite that part of Greenland holds his name.
Towards Heilprin Land
Part one, the nature of love as explained by a geoscientist.
Part two, a voyage towards Heilprin Land.
Spending time this summer with volcanologists, we discussed their long-term relationships with volcanoes from around the world. From the deck of a ship in the North Atlantic off the coast of North East Greenland, the aurora borealis fills the sky. From my porthole - icebergs, glacial walls, pack ice, which can only be likened to cracking bones.
Volcanic stories from the Smithsonian collide with polar encounters from a fragile landmass in the north in Towards Heilprin Land, a new project developed for the Sharjah Biennial 8 and a new performative lecture at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.