“You carried a local delicacy each time in your bag, some small chosen gift, a stone, an apple, flowers, a photograph, transported hundreds of miles, as if you could bring a bit of your earth to me with each meeting; as if, over the months, you would bring your place to mine, one handful at a time”
Ann Michaels and John Berger – Railtracks 2011, p69
In magic there are two, now neglected, visions of space. One is the idea that things carry there origins with them as they journey – the principle of contiguity. That by being somewhere in particular, or next to something, if attains powers that stay with it as it moves. Something of place moves, is dislocated, but links an arrival to a departure. The other is the principle of mimetic sympathy –the idea that similar arrangement or appearance can act over a distance to affect the space it mimics. Both of these are present in a voodoo doll. The doll looks like the person it can affect from a distance. It also often includes bits to that person – a hair perhaps.
Both of these principles are present in the project of Nowhereisland. We dug up six tonnes of rock, gravel and sand and placed them in white plastic sacks marked with coloured aerosol dots – red, blue, yellow – to distinguish the size of their contents. The beach of Nyskjaeret looked like a work of art as we dug and hauled, our back aching. These bags were unloaded from our red schooner and are being transported to Britain where Alex Hartley will use his magic to turn material into an island – a smaller version of Nyskjaeret, which will travel around the coast of southwest England during the Olympics. The sculpture will look like Nyskjaeret and will consist of material from Nyskjaeret. It will carry Nyskjaeret with it along with its tales of changing earth.