In November 2014 I had the chance to spend a month in residence in Iceland on the island of Hrísey at Gamli Skóli Old School Arthouse to develop a series of photographs and videos related to the island.
It’s true. There are no sheep in Hrísey. A tiny island tucked into the northern coastline of Iceland, Hrísey has population of about 120 people, and land area of less than 8km². In my preliminary research on Hrísey, I was tickled to discover that in a country famous for its wool (and for eating sheep heads), this place has none. Once grazing freely on the island, sheep (and other non-native or invasive species) were removed in 1974 to protect the landscape and native wildlife. Perhaps a small detail in the history of the island, which has been inhabited since the 10th century, but as an outsider coming to get a brief taste of life in Hrísey, it served as my entry point.
An invasive yet not wholly out-of-place figure in this pristine landscape, the not-a-sheep gingerly stakes out a space for itself in Hrísey.
The challenge of working in Iceland was not the weather or the terrain, which were both surprisingly pleasant and gentle, but the landscape itself. The immense, staggering scale, and the daunting beauty of the surroundings were petrifying. At first I found myself asking, “What work could I possibly make here?”
The Horizon Line videos work with the landscape as I experienced it, gradually, through hours of looking, staring out into it, losing track of where it begins and ends.