Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Ilana Halperin

"the difficulty of falling in love during an earthquake
tramway installation shot. wood, cast iron bathtub, hidden water feature that erupts like a geyser through the drain."

"i am from new york, you are from bruxelles.we meet in the place where the tectonic plates converge.they are moving apart at a rate of 1 cm per year"

"In the North of Iceland along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, two newlyweds move into their first house. They are very excited - new house/ new life. No one tells them when they move into the house that it sits on a fault line. There is a massive volcanic eruption followed by an earthquake. Their house splits in two. Their living room has a huge gash straight through it. They are horrified - devasted. What does this mean? Their house is destroyed. Their marriage had only just begun, and the chasm running through their marital bed does not bode well for their future. They realise that actually, the house has a clean break down the middle, and instead of devastation it could be a sign for something much better. They build a new room in the space of the gap, transforrming a potentially catastrophic situation into an expanded living space. Integrating catastrophe."

Artists Statement

'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.'

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