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Contemporary Iceland: wishes, illusions, fictions, fantasies. Wild nature, unspoiled by man - but only for a limited time. In the footsteps of the pioneers and explorers, pursuing adventure, freedom and open space, come the tourists, their late descendants. It's a romantic trip into the wilderness, but with return guaranteed. A phantasmagoric landscape, but safe and visitable. A hortus conclusus.
While Iceland's endless solitary roads terminate in a single, neat house or a lonely church, nearly always surrounded by a simple enclosure marking the boundaries for the site, its recreational inclinations condense in an idyll of swimming pools, often situated at what seems to be the edge of the civilized world. The violent, volcanic powers are tamed and containd in these omnipresent volumes of water, heated and nourished by hot springs, frequently painted blue and rectangular.
Island explores the interdependence between desires for escape and their incarnation in reality. It's a complicitous double daydream between Iceland's tourists and its native inhabitants. The video, including still and moving images, was filmed in late September, after all the tourists had departed. The island felt like a playground after closing, suddenly abandoned, off limits and out of time. A slightly hallucinatory world, both intensely artificial and intensely real. An island experience, par excellence.
Joan Ockman, Salomon Frausto: Architourism: Authentic Escapist Exotic Spectacular, Munich London New York 2005