The Islands Amid the Worlds

When I started this project about 12 years ago my motivation was to examine what happens to a place when humans desert it. What happens with buildings after years of disuse? How does nature operate to reclaim its power? How would the world look after 50 years if humans neglected it?

The place I chose is an abandond military base on a couple of small islands outside Bronx, New York. In this first part of the project I have focused on the smaller island. Here the structure has been abandoned since the sixties. It is a strange place where time seems to have frozen. The place feels “sleepy” almost magical. It’s a slow event that nature enacts. Where it slowly eats its way through the buildings with wind, water and greenery that winds around them and slowly breaks them.
While spending time on the islands I often wondered what the structures would tell us if they could speak? What tales would its inmates, workers and soldiers have whispered? What were they listening to on the radio and what were their rivals saying about them? I therefore made a sound design that mirrored what I thought they might have said and heard. I have layered a fictional Russian voice with real speeches from the Cold War and WW2. The purpose of this was to get the feeling of the rivalry between the super powers and also to recreate the mystic feeling of the island.

This work is a play between opposites such as stills,video, wide shots, close ups, indoors, outdoors. It can be seen as well as “We” who look out or “We” who are trying to look in.

Art film 2011
By Johanna St Michaels

Shown at PID 2011,
Where Dreams Cross 2011,
Gothenburg filmfestival 2012,
Bergarummet, Konstepidemin 2012

The Islands amid the Worlds,