Island

2003-2008: The Island

"For us geography is history, and it is no accident that our written memories are about fifty percent comprised of accounts of earthquakes and floods. Like mermaids' ours is a double nature: we are made of flesh and stone. Our bones have deep roots in the sea." (Vitorino Nemésio)

The Island project includes a series of videos made between 2003 and 2008 which use common source material. The videos are about the idea of island from an emigrant point of view - a point of view which involves a profound sense of saudade for the lost landscape.

The Azores Islands lie along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the triple junction region between the North American, Eurasian and African tectonic plates. It is naturally an unstable location. The last active volcano was Capelinhos, which erupted off the coast of Faial island in September 1957 and remained active until October 1958. My family and I were living on the neighboring island of Pico that year when my mother and her brother took a boat to Faial to record the volcano on an 8mm home movie camera.

Between 2003-2008, while making paintings based on the Capelinhos volcano, I also made a series of short, montage videos using my mother's film footage as well as other footage from the same time period.

In 2009 a video clip from this project was included in the Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations episode, Azores, Jan 27, 2009.

Film Archives

  • Film Footage of Capelinhos Volcano, Alzira Simas 1957-58, Faial island, Azores.
  • Film Footage of Capelinhos Volcano, Father José M. Neves Faial island, 1957-58.

Sound Archives

Geography and History, 2007, two-channel video, color, stereo sound, 3:28 min.

Our Bones Dive into the Ocean, 2008, two-channel video, color, stereo sound, 4:28 min.

Immigrant, 2004, 8mm film digitized, color, stereo sound, 1:34 min.

Folkdance (Chamarita), 2003, 8mm film digitized, color, stereo sound, 2:22 min.

Pedras, 2004, 8mm film digitized, color, stereo sound, 2:15 min.