The installation “Nature“ on the beach in Skerjafjörður in Reykjavík (by Borghildur Óskarsdóttir, Image 4) is a subtle and a bit devious reference to this ambivalent approach to that which surrounds us, embraces us – our environment. The letters in the work are of course a reference to that „leap-for-mankind“ in human evolution that he invention of the alphabet brought about. The advent of the alphabet facilitated communication as well as the gathering, preservation and archiving of information, albeit it also entailed alienation of matter/object. The concrete letters, precisely cast, are made from the most popular building material in Iceland. The font itself is ancient, dating back to the Roman Empire, in the first century A.D., while concrete is a relatively modern substance. The letters, the word, form a sort of a label on the beach, begging the question whether we actually have come to need such literal directions to find our way in our environment. This simple, unaffected sculpture on the black beach in Iceland, the youngest landmass in Europe, is then not as obvious as it may seem at first glance.
The sea is unmindful of the sculpture: the ebb and flow of the tide is unhindered, already undermining the concrete lettes which by now are uneven in the sand, their particular weights and shapes channeling the flowing sea and sand differently. The resistance of course is futile and the letters are bound to disappear before long. The path winding along the coast is quite recent. It forms a part of a man-made structure that makes access to „pristine“ nature easier. At the other side of the path, away from the sea, much effort and money has been made to harness that very same nature to maintain concrete runways and various installations pertaining to the airport. Iceland is truly a land of contrasts!
[Taken from the article “Landslag hugans – staðir og staðleysur” (Landscape of the mind – places and utopias) by architect Guja Dögg Hauksdóttir that appeared in the literary magazine: Tímarit Máls og Menningar, 2.tbl. 63.árg. May 2002]