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.
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.