DARKNESS VISIBLE



Most hikers we met along the way: they all had a plan traced from the beginning. Ours were traced as we went along.

The making of this work began with one desire, a metaphor, and a single verse.

—Where is the bed of ashes? I want to get there.


DARKNESS VISIBLE


Written By Sofía Hernändez




After some time of high seismic activity, in spring 2010, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted, leaving most of the area of Thórsmörk (southern Iceland) covered by a veil of magma and ashes. Sixt years later, the artist Simone Couto traveled to Thórsmörk valley to explore and make a reflection about this recently devastated area. Whether seen through the lens of the personal or the universal,  the land covered by ashes after the catastrophe can seem a desolate, even dead landscape, but also —as the artist emphasizes— a tabula rasa where multiple re-beginnings are just arising.



Darkness Visible and Fire Mountain of the Islands, both video works,  are experiences of confrontation to the difficulties with this forbidding terrain, in physical and psychological ways.


Reimagining an Earth beyond Kant's theories where there is no Correlationism or no being but the Earth-in-itself,or keeping close to Kant's ideas about the Sublime, the landscape in this project is no longer a comfortable retreat or a getaway, but a hostile environment which challenges body and mind, revealing at the same time the smallness of the subject and the greatness of his/her faculties.


Couto's proposal for this experience of asymmetrical powers is the dissolution of subjectivity into landscape. That's why Tibetan mandalas and the martial art of aikido have a strong presence in this project. Smooth movement, flexible strength and conciliation with a hard environment are the key to favoring a re-birth from adversity.

DARKNESS VISIBLE

Solo exhibition, March 2018


Film-performance-music-object-drawing-poetry

El Museo de Los Sures, March

Title: The Agency of Objects in Time of Theorization of Love, War, and Materiality

Agency of Objects is an extract taken from a 14-hour art and science exploration with an PHD archaeologist, on July of 2016 during her expedition to top of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland (completed), after its eruption in 2010.

Video: 1.55 minutes. 2016

Photography in video: Simone Couto

Title: Darkness Visible

Video: 6:47 minutes. 2015/2016

Outskirts of Posmork National Park and the volcano Eyjafjallajökull as a site for engagement. Since April 2010, this is an area with high seismic volcanic activity and one major eruption. I produced a film while hiking three days, exploring the area, and performing silence and immobility.

In 2016, Couto returned to the area and climbed to the crater of the volcano.

Title: Fire Mountains of the Island

Video: 6 minutes. 2016/2017


I return to the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Choosing mobility this time as a response to my previous  experience, I walked to the top of the mountain as her site-specific performative gesture engaging with the wind, the clouds, the rocks, the unstable soil, ashes, and the unseen changes of the volcanic landscape post-eruption. Under challenging conditions, the wind, clouds, stones, ashes, activates imagination, no matter how present or absent they are. Imagination becomes the medium where our massive bodies transit. It allows the artist to collapse this dicotomy and experience the place and things as timeless. In the video, imagination is filled with height, elevation, depth, and sinking. When the body experiences extreme physical dislocations in the environment, it is possible to re-enter other kinds of dormant subjectivities.

18 VOLCANIC STUDIES ON PAPER

Gouache and graffiti on Arches Canson 22 x 30 inches cold press paper.

PERFORMANCE

VIDEOS

SCULPTURES: BECOMING FLOWERS

Concrete, Black sand, 3D Iceland Poppy, Brass

5"x 5" x 5" concrete base