Iceland June 2015
I returned to Iceland for a two week, intensive art making residency, at BAER Art Center, in Hofsos. As an alumni (‘11) of Baer, I was invited back for a self-directed residency. This meant I was given the facilities to use, but had to be self-sufficient. There was literally no one else present during my stay. I imagine for some this would be maddening, to be isolated on hundreds of acres as far as the eye could see, with sunlight 24/7—but it was my heaven.
I knew from my previous art making experience in Iceland, that it would be best to go without many supplies or ideas, instead pack an attitude of adventure. The day I was leaving I also needed to mark my yard for the mower man, with little red flags. I had been thinking of revisiting places from the past in Iceland, and knew the little red flags were good material to bring to Iceland.
The first day at Baer, (after the most stunning-mind-blowing-drive) I began mapping the places of personal importance (in the landscape), from 2011. Thus I began ‘Mapping Past and Present’, which is a multi-media project, comprised of multiple smaller projects. Each day for three days I hiked to locations that were places I had created work with the landscape in 2011. I began marking each point from then, in the present. I marked them physically, and noted the time and any particular memory, and or notable present comment. Afterwards, I measured the distance between the points with Icelandic yarn, and marking the points on the yarn, so there was a physical distance measured. For each point, I also photographed the view, or sound recorded and made video. After completing the process of marking and measuring, I returned back to the studio, wrote the field notes, and compiled the collection of found “treasures” collected during the mapping. Then I decided what form to make the map into based on the total events of the experience and process of “mapping”.
The first map I knitted into an “Infinity scarf” because it was the only thing I could and knew how to make. I was taught in Iceland how to knit in 2011, and continue to only know how to knit infinity scarfs. It is metaphoric of the continuum of time, a circle without end or beginning. The second map I made was ‘Kria Instruments’, which are two pieces of driftwood that act as both weapons in defense of the Kria bird, as well as musical instruments. The last two maps I decided would be the balls of yarn, with their markings, left as an opportunity for someone else to change their form.
The maps each come with their legend, their photo’s and digital media, and field notes I sewed into ‘treasure bags’. These bags are lined with the field notes, and the outside fabric I hand dyed with the minerals found in the land. Then each bag’s drawstring is corresponds to the yarn of its map. Each bag contains the found treasures that were collected on route during the creation of the map.
Making these maps, I kept thinking about: why we map, what are maps for, who’s maps do we follow, are memoirs maps, advice maps, etc. etc. I landed close to thinking that maps are our way back from the future, and that the only map to follow forward is the one known by one’s own heart.