Myrto Prokopiou

Body – place of earth

When you visit a place, you’re small; it contains you, lets you walk on it, explore it with your hands, smell it maybe.

We all know what it’s like to visit a place – more or less. But what would it be like, I wonder, to actually pin a landscape on your chest? Wear it upon your fingers, watch it move as you gesture?

How would it be possible to understand what a landscape is all about, bring it down to that point where the body will now be the one to host it, and not be hosted by it?

Methana, Aegina, Milos, Kimolos, Andimilos, Polyaegos, Santorini, Nisyros, Gyali: spreading from Attica to Dodecanese, these Greek islands form the so-called “volcanic arc” of the Aegean sea. This is the fascinating landscape that I chose to focus on.

“The volcanic landscapes are those geological spaces where Gaea1, the living planet, both dramatically and within a time scale that is conceivable by man, manifestates its most intense processes. Within time intervals of few hours, mountains disappear in depths of the earth, billions of tons of rocks explode into the air and are added in natural space which, in other kinds of environments, seems to be fixed, unmoving, given. New land is being born in front of humans’ eyes, islands, hills and mountains, are created in a few decades. And this landscape is adorned with millions of different colours of ash layers, varying from white to total black, yellow to deep red…[*]”

[*] Dr Georges E. Vougioukalakis, Volcanologist/Coordinating Researcher, Department of Energy Resources of the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration, Greece From the reserch project “Greekscapes: a “bird’s eye view” atlas of Greek Landscapes, Harokopio University of Athens, 2008-2010 (translation of text citation is unofficial)

What I say is, the essence of these landscapes is no other than the brutally unexpected and uncontrolled force that gave birth to them: the one you still feel is there, hibernating but lurking still.

The human body, being actually a landscape itself, offered its cavities and peaks at service: it caged the material, gave it a figure and intervened the distance between the so-called “real” space and the jewellery. It was the body that helped me give my own imaginary fire landscapes a wearable substance.

myrto prokopiou

1: Character of the greek mythology who symbolises the Earth