Soft Ruptures; Slow Formations


Shifting Landscapes; Landslag að Breytast
I’m from an island that sits on top of two tectonic plates, where Europe and North America collide. It is always shifting and ever so slowly, drifting apart. This slow rift feels familiar. My practice has become a state of constant drifting, tearing away at myself, breaking apart in order to build anew. In the past three years, I’ve been stripped of certainties and replaced old notions with new configurations, shedding a skin and adding new layers.

I have begun to embrace the constant unsettling of the ground beneath my feet, welcoming ambiguity and uncertainty. Existing within this continual drift, I give permission to break down, tear apart, in order to build again. In Your Glacial Expectations, Josephine Klougart said that the landscape you grew up in will continue to affect you throughout your life; that you carry both geological and mental landscapes with you—but landscapes are always in the process of change as are we.

Language shapes our understanding of identity, place, and self. It is seductive, it is captivating, even dangerous. In these past three years, a dystopian language emerged, telling us the world as we know it is ending. At the start of 2020, a dramatic shift began, and we tumbled into this new vision. Once we stopped plummeting swiftly, we began to rebuild. We ruptured, softly, and began again. We dug into the earth, uncovered layers in our surroundings, in ourselves. We considered new ways of existing.

I like the idea of a practice as a guide for how you choose to act, observe, and move through the world. I used to think of myself as moving through the world carefully, cautiously, and quietly but this has been changing. Iceland is an island that is constantly being shaped by shifting landscapes. People often think of eruptions as a quick, violent events. But they are often quite slow, sometimes happening over a few years, new magma steadily flowing, seeping upwards to the earth. But as this magma cools, the land grows. The ground opens up; the landscape shifts, new land is formed.

I think of my practice in the same way I do about shifting landscapes. Small ruptures occur gradually over time. In unexpected locations with the same degree of surprise. My ideas are constantly being redefined and reconsidered; fragmented thoughts, ideas, and contemplations are what I have to offer. Nothing finished, another beginning, allowing the rupture in.

An excerpt from the first essay in Soft Ruptures; Slow Formations, presented by Ásta Þrastardóttir, Graphic Design MFA, Rhode Island School of Design. 

Thesis final review, presented on May 22, 2022.

When the schedule for the final thesis presentations was posted, I knew that my time slot would shape the way I approached this final review. I was the final presenter  on the last day; it felt apt that I frame my entire presentation around this idea. My talk for the review started with: “there are many ways we could begin,” which then shifted into a presentation on beginnings.

After my presentation of the work, I handed out a farewell letter to everyone. The letter was addressed to no one; and addressed to everyone who passed through the studio walls while I, too, was housed within them.

My thesis book, at its core, is a gathering of the past three years of collaboration. A curated collection of the conversations I’ve had, walks I’ve gone on, and moves I’ve made. In all of these small gestures of forward momentum, I have been steadily building a path forward. My practice has been built by every conversation I’ve had in these past three years. This letter wraps around my book. A reflection of my time here; a celebration of connection at a time when connection did not come easy.