FROZEN HAWAII – NATURAL FASHION
The title of the project refers to the largest piece of no man’s land left on Earth; Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica, whose bedrock reminds of the geography of Hawaii. The area is changing fast caused by ice loss. What will happen to this unclaimed territory in the future when the ice has melted? Will Marie Byrd Land and The Pine Islands by it’s coast become a new surfers’ paradise like Hawaii and The Cold Hawaii in Northern Denmark?
Today cruise ships are regularly visiting Antarctica promoted by slogans like ‘Explore the Great White Continent Untouched by Man’, though you could say that Antarctica is indeed touched by Man due to climate changes. This paradox leads to questions like: How can we relate to nature today knowing that the longing after the untouched wilderness is long gone? What is a tourist in this regard? What is exploration and adventurousness? As an explorer you traditionally claim, conquer and posses. As a tourist you ‘sight-see’ at a distance. Is there another way to relate to our surroundings reaching beyond this dominance and distance? To inhabit and dwell?
The works try to capture the future scenario using a “back to nature” approach drawing inspiration from the Suri tribe in the Omo Valley in the plains of south-western Ethiopia and tribe members ‘natural fashion’ using their skin as a surface to express themselves artistically decorating their bodies with natural pigments made from powdered volcanic rock as red ochre, green copper ore, white kaolin and powdered limestone as well as making elaborate headwear of flowers, fruits, leaves, grasses, shells, feathers and animal horns.
Explorer Number 1 (I just want a simple life) is a self portrait staged at the last protected natural site in Copenhagen – Amager Fælled, which is under threat due to new urban planning strategies. I’m wearing a headbouquet of natural plants, some of which are seldom only living in areas like this like Quaking Grass, Cynosures, Fernleaf Dropwort, and Inula salicina, and carry a piece of cultivated nature in my hand: a piece of chopped wood as a symbolic weapon.
Bewinged Martial Explorer is a triptych of self portraits related to the work Explorer Number 1 inspired by indigenous suri rituals and their relation to nature. The work reflects upon the concept of exploration in todays society, where the untouched wilderness is long gone. Using a bodily winged armoring, a suprematic armor, and a piece of chopped wood the project focuses on our attempt to be present in a disassociated nature.
Explorer Number 2 shows a man wearing a fox fur on the head like an outdated warrior or old lady twisting our conceptions of “natural” and “cultural”.The parallel paired crystallizations of this work are attempts to fractalize the motive into geometrical forms getting closer to an understanding of nature as a wet zone of microbes.