(Interventions, Iceland, 2015) performance, paper, photographs

This piece is from my residency in Fljotstunga, Iceland. It comprises paper boats, floating in rural Iceland, particularly in an ice and lava cave.

It’s about lots of things – human fragility in the harsh landscape, the sheer absurdity of placing paper in this extreme environment, journeys – literal and emotional, displacement, etc. It is also a very personal and emotional project about myself: the absurdity of struggling to exist in this world at all with my particular disabilities.

In the end, the piece almost morphed into a performance, because the conditions were so difficult, that placing and photographing the boats became an exercise in bloody-mindedness and battle against the extreme wind and cold. My camera batteries froze, my flash froze, I could no longer feel my fingers to place the boats, they wouldn’t stay still in the wind, and it was hard to stand up. Placing paper boats and photographing them was an act of struggle and absurd futility.

I had the epiphany that, in fact, a great deal of my work is as much about the performance (and absurdity) of repetitive making, and the recording afterwards, as it is about the ephemeral installations I produce in this strand of my practise. To that extent, this project marked a breakthrough for me; my thanks to Iceland for this illumination!