Icelandic Rift, 2006-7

Icelandic Rift is a series of structures assembled from industrial materials, stark yet organic forms, and automated systems. These sculptures come together in each work to form a modular system of organic architecture, which plays on the viewer\’s senses of scale and gravity. The Icelandic Rift sculptures are electronically powered works that include mechanical systems which function to automate lights and fluids within the sculpture bodies. Materials in the series include aluminum, cast acrylic, urethane, ferrofluid, and custom kinetics and electronics.

In all, the structures in the Icelandic Rift series represent a future vision of agriculture and growth in a zero-g environment. It is a composition of artificial islands supported and connected by steel and aluminum frames. These island modules may be assembled in different ways as part of a greater mechanical system that hovers above the floor. The architecture of them is designed to be perceived as both vaguely familiar and also austerely alien.

I was in part inspired to create this work by the landscapes that I explored in Iceland. There, I saw breathtakingly monumental glaciers which seemed to float atop fields smooth black lava rock. In other parts of the country, there were endless stains of acid green sulfur on the earth as well as steaming blue pools of heat-loving algae which defied one’s sense of “the natural”. The landscape in Iceland is famous for its lunar feel but its elements seemed to trump gravity and logic in ways that were utterly unexpected. I am also drawing inspiration for this work from the multi-tiered design of staged, hillside agricultural systems such as those seen in Asian rice terraces. Last, I am drawing inspiration from the soft design forms found in domed space observatories, water droplets, and BioSpheres.

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