Sampling The Breath of an Island

Image: HD Video (9:16), Sound: recordings of artist's breath, 2024

‘Sampling The Breath of an Island’ is the record of a series of actions conducted whilst encountering the active, volcanic landscape of Iceland. The video-images are all shot on location in Iceland, but the sound-scape of the film is created entirely from samples of the artist’s breath.

At the timescales that we humans live within, a landscape feels like a background. The rolling English hills where I grew up, seemed to me like static material over which I roamed. Landscapes are taken to be the passive spaces against which the actions of our lives take place. We speed over them, we dig them, we build our cities incrementally across them. Inert arenas for our agency and extraction.

But stumbling across the folds and fissures of Iceland, is to feel the thinness of the Earth’s living skin. Iceland, like the Earth itself, is a creature busily remaking herself in fire. In the timescales of geology, Iceland is a young beast. Hissing out steam and deathly gasses. A creature that vomits up its liquid insides through sudden, iridescent mouths. A belching, burning thing born of the depths. A pregnant, shuddering disaster that heaves and splits along a great fault-line. Here, directly beneath my feet, I can feel the boiling guts of our planet, and sense (even in my human timescale), that ‘landscape’ is a process not a background.

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