[June 4 2015]
Running down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean the North American and Eurasian plates meet at a seam called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Alongside this geophysical and metaphysical divide is a deep rift valley, actively widening at a gentle but definite rate. The core below the earth’s surface is revealed, exposing an unfamiliar nature. A place where the energy is so boiling and so immense that, through epic eruptions and violent tantrums, it has created the island country known as Iceland, a substantial landform perched precariously on top of an ever-shifting abyss. Surveying the landscape with foreign eyes one finds the visuals to be as shocking and violent as the way this newly formed land emerged.
The sensations we experienced were stimulating and psychedelic, sights and feelings hard to recognize. Our ideas of nature were forced into the inverse; the beaches were black and the ocean’s rolling waves reflected the red skies of the afternoon. Slabs of transparent ice had floated then lodged ashore where they lay listlessly glistening and multiplying the unusual light. The shores of a river were caked with white clay yielding chalky, pale blue water. Where once liquid rock had spilled red from below, hardened black pumice now stood still in ripples. The same slow-motion was mimicked by frozen masses of aqua ice crawling down the mountain to return to the ocean.
Iceland is an country almost entirely uninhabited, a victim to its own beauty and temperament. The society itself is founded on principles and survival methods which has rendered a kind of superhuman breed. It is a country dangling in equilibrium, recklessly balanced on the verge of extreme hot or extreme cold, in a state of constant readiness for either death or creation at the whim of the nature surrounding it.
Text Lily Ann and photo Charles Negre