Ö - A Möbius Trip - An Archipelago Odyssey

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Ö—A Möbius Trip

All images and texts by the authors/artists unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted without written permission from the publishers. Produced by Vision Forum, © 2015 Edited by Per Hüttner and Isabel Löfgren Design: Erik Månsson English proofreading: Tom Ridgway, Isabel Löfgren and Jen Lindblad Printing: Printon Printing House, Estonia The maps have been designed by: Andreas Eberlein Vision Forum would like to thank: Everyone who has worked on the project, Konstantin Economou and Gabriel Thott at KSM, Donatella Bernardi from the Royal Institute of Art, Camilla Carlberg, Lena Malm from Moderna Museet, Stefanie Hessler and Mare Liberum (Jens Evaldsson, Lisa Gideonsson, Marja Knape and Gustaf Londré). A special mention to our very special cook, Joakim Samson and for the Knorrcorp family for graciously hosting us in Sandhamn for our residencies. Vision Forum is supported by KSM at Linköpings Universitet ISBN 978-91-980725-4-9


















An Archipelago Odyssey Many discoveries have been made on the seven seas, but not many of these have been of a collective artistic nature. In winter 2011, we began discussing the idea of making an exhibition that would take the shape of a journey through the Stockholm archipelago. We wanted to create a voyage that offered a slightly shifted perspective on the world that surrounds us – an enjoyable challenge for artists and audience alike. We set out to investigate how an exhibition that takes the form of a voyage on a boat cruising through a landscape of islands could be developed together by an international group of creators. Together we wanted to compose an experience where the landscape, the artworks, the audience and every aspect of moving across the water would become a part of the exhibition. In the beginning, it seemed like an easy enough task. We looked at different solutions and eventually decided to mould the exhibition on the narrative structure of Homer’s Odyssey. What happens if we transpose Odysseus’ epic voyage back home to Ithaca to the Stockholm archipelago? We were intrigued by how the classic text underlines the fact that no one returns from a journey as the same person they left. The group started grappling with the questions: Why do we travel? In what ways can we expect to change our lives and our relationship to the world when we embark on a journey? What do we expect to find? What is lost and what is gained? For the voyage to make sense, it became clear that time and temporality of the event should be considered more like the dramaturgy for a novel or a film, rather than the spatial arrangements of an art exhibition. This also meant that, in the limited physical space of a moving vessel and in the limited duration of one single trip, the individual contributions by the artists would necessarily affect one another in far more intimate ways than in a traditional exhibition setting with works on display. In other words, each contribution by the creators had to be carefully negotiated with all the others and orchestrated collectively along the route taken and through the duration of this collective performance. The final piece fell into place when we heard about a mystery island that has been talked about in the archipelago for centuries and that few people have seen and even fewer visited. We all quickly agreed that it was our collective mission to find and eventually visit this island. Our voyage had a goal, even if it remained illusive. The approximately 30,000 islands that comprise the Stockholm archipelago are dotted with summer homes for wealthy Stockholmers. The landscape, filled with islands, islets, skerries and rocks, is extraordinarily beautiful and inspiring. Artists, writers and some of the most creative Swedish minds have retreated to the idyllic life of the archipelago to find rest from city life. The archipelago changes character in summer and winter. It transforms from the liquid state of



flowing water perfect for sailing in the summer, into the solid state in the winter where the frozen waterways make it difficult to distinguish land and sea. Historically, the archipelago has been the buffer zone between the protected port of Stockholm and the Baltic Sea. Through the centuries, it has offered an important trade route for the goods coming from agricultural land around Lake Mälaren to trading outposts in Russia, Europe and beyond. The military history of the archipelago provides us with some of its mysteries. The labyrinth of islands has trapped many ships that still remain at the bottom of the sea. The archipelago is also a contested space of national sovereignty since enemy submarines can easily move between the islands out of sight and thus defy even the most technologically advanced surveillance techniques. Sailing in the archipelago requires knowing how to read the clouds and predicting the changes of the winds. It is equally important to read the movements of the currents underwater and sense where rocks and other dangers may hide. The preparation of this project occurred over the span of three years. The group of creators met through mini-residencies taking place in different locations in and around Stockholm in preparation for a final exhibition/voyage. In each residency the group engaged with the water, landscape and different floating vessels. Together they reflected on what it means to travel and create together, in order to host the audience on our ship in the best possible way. The group agreed that the voyage itself would become a starting point for a reversal of human experience. Every aspect of the trip was transformed away from familiarity and made to break with expectations associated with touristic travel and to provoke the audience to embrace the unknown on every possible level. Ö - a letter in the Swedish alphabet which is also the word ”island” in Swedish - became the title of this experiment. This publication is an outcome of these processes and is a freestanding collective artwork put together by the participating creators and special guests, and can be enjoyed on different levels In the first part of the publication, individual contributions by all the creators have been deliberately merged into a single narrative, Impressions d’Ö. This tale set on a ship travelling across the Stockholm archipelago in search for the mysterious island creates a flow of experiences across time and across the landscape. In bringing together many paradoxical events into a unity in written form, we invited a writer to create a literary text that synthesises these experiences. In our own tale, we do not give any titles for individual artworks or single out any of its authors. It is worth noting that the narrative of this book does not recount the story of any single voyage undertaken by the group, and it rather gives a sense of the cumulative experience of the project. The writer often underlines the fact that everyone who experienced one of the journeys consistently mistook reality for being art and art for being reality. In keeping with the logic of the project, our mystery writer wishes to remain anonymous. The second part of this book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Islands and An Index of Fictional Islands are texts compiled by the editors about the imagination of islands. Inspired by Douglas Adams’ radio comedy from 1978, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, our guide is a playful metaphor for the search of the mysterious

island in the archipelago which became the elusive destination of our voyage. Fragmentary in nature, destabilising and challenging, Ö proposes to turn the experience of travelling upside down so that each passenger can slightly shift the outlook on their own place in the world. The processes and outcomes of the project blur the boundaries between dream and reality, fact and fiction, in the same way the horizon blurs water and sky during a storm. As you may already suspect, the unpredictability of the sea played tricks on us. Like Odysseus, our ultimate goal was to visit an island at the edge of the horizon, which we all had heard about and yet never seen. For the Greek hero, it was reaching home. For us, it was a threshold to be crossed into the unknown.



Per Hüttner & Isabel Löfgren June 2015









Impressions d’Ö



Chapter 1

The Lotus Eaters Dramatis Personæ: Cecilia Ahlqvist Valerio del Baglivo Per Hüttner Andrea Hvistendahl Isabel Löfgren Marcia Moraes Lillevän Egill Sæbjørnson Camila Sposati Samon Takahashi With special appearances by: Atle Baekken Mats Hjelm Jean-Louis Huhta Emilia Rota


Fear narrows one’s angle of vision. For months I had been concerned about spending eight hours on a boat – it’s not as if you can get off and take a taxi if you feel seasick or afflicted by some other ship- or water-induced ailment. So when we finally cast off I was sweating and muttering incantations deep in the interior of the ship. However, as the minutes passed and nothing horrendous happened, I gradually found the experience of moving across the water virtually bearable. My field of vision broadened and I started to experience things that were further than in my absolute proximity. I sat alone in the bar holding onto my drink, feeling a bit silly as I noticed that the rest of the guests were busy talking to each other, discovering the ship and the art. So in order not to appear like a total freak I ventured outside and looked at the passing islands, buildings and boats – how different the city looked from this perspective! Everything moved ceaselessly. I wondered how people who grew up on boats found this experience. Could it really become as trite as taking the tube? People were engaged in lively discussions on deck and Atle saluted me with a friendly hug. He pointed out where the Wasa ship had sunk, something that pushed my thoughts in the wrong direction. My worries were furthered by the hull’s encounter with the wake from another boat that made everything shift back and forth in a particularly uncomfortable way. The wind grew stronger, making my eyes run and I tried to calm down by looking at Samon’s playlist and figure out which of the tracks was playing on the ship’s sound system. While I was studying it, Egill, Samon, Lillevän and Per greeted me cheerfully, we all held the same blue drinks with eyeballs in them. They laughed and Egill, Lillevän and I shrugged. They explained that they had to prepare the starter and the four of them left, making up new jokes as they went. I sat down at a table that had been placed on what I assumed would later be transformed into a dance floor. “Do you mind?” A young lady asked, and sat down without waiting for my response. She asked if I had been crying and could not contain her enjoyment. When I explained that it was the wind, she retorted that she has soft spot for sensitive men. She said that there was no shame in crying – even Odysseus cried and that made Calypso let him go. She took out the egg from her drink, peeled it and ate it. She said that we had the same oar on our cards and held out a laminated card. I had put an identical card into the inner pocket of my jacket and had totally forgotten about it since my consciousness was gripped by fear. According to the card, we were supposed to “reflect on how darkness affects our retinas,” and she said that she found the question commonplace compared to the questions on the other cards. I agreed that I first thought so


too and then I realized that it was indeed quite clever, since it is the light and not the darkness that affects our eyes. So, the darkness triggers our senses through a lack of light. “I see,” she replied, smiling. “Well, in the dark you don’t” – we laughed – “and anyway you want to say ‘Eye see’ or ‘I sea’ or even ‘Eye sea,’ I suppose,” I wrote the words on a paper napkin. She said that she had looked for me on the quay and when she couldn’t find me, she ended up teaching a bald-headed man how to grow hair. I replied that if she was successful, that she would soon be richer than King Menelaus – the market potential of teaching balding men to grow hair must be gigantic. “Are you enjoying this?” She ignored what I said and looked at the passing landscape. I replied that I was quite happy to share her company since it kept my thoughts away from imagining shipwrecks and other horrors. “No, that’s not what I meant. Are you enjoying the art event so far?” She attracted the attention of one of the servers who squeezed through the busy dining hall where the noise level was getting higher as people filled up the tables and bar. Without really waiting for my reply she asked me where I was from and why I had agreed to come on the boat if was so scared. I told her that I lived my whole life in London at the same time as the boat made an unexpected and jerky turn and I tried to change the subject. She insisted and eventually I had to admit that I had travelled here with the intention of having a “future ex” on the boat. First she laughed at my formulation and then asked if it was one of the artists; I blushed. However, her laughter quickly contorted into a serious, almost angry expression. She said that since I write about art, I should refrain from talking about “future exes.” I might as well refer to children as “future old people” or beautiful women (like herself) as “hags to be.” She went on to say that art must be a tool that compels you to find beauty in unexpected situations where you have not discovered it before. More often than not, these wonders were found in the everyday and in the inconspicuous. She said that any appreciation of beauty is an active part of the person who perceives it and that it is our moral obligation to be a part of creation of beauty everywhere. I confessed that I had never thought about it in those terms as my field of vision shrank. “When will we get to this mysterious island that everyone talks about?” I asked. “Did you hear the noises coming out of the sealed cabin downstairs?” She ignored what I said again and I shook my head. She immediately got up and insisted on taking me there. The whole plan made me worried about missing the starter or that someone would take our seats. “Is there anything that you don’t worry about?” she took my hand. “I promise you won’t miss a thing.” She led me back on deck where she managed to light a cigarette by leaning behind a lifeboat. She patted the great orange object and said that I could spend three weeks in a boat like that. “I could provide you with food and drinks.” She smiled and I wondered, why would I want to do that? I had barely been on board for an hour and kept wishing I was back on dry land.

“In order to truly be alive, you have to challenge yourself – live on the edge!” she said. “Really?” I was making plans to get off the ship as soon as possible. The boat made another sudden turn and I had to hold on to the railing to prevent myself from falling in. “Is the Captain drunk or what?” Something else caught my attention: “Look at the seagulls following us. I think they are spying on us.” I took out my phone and tried to take a photo of the bird. But as I pointed towards it, the screen showed odd interference and I had to reboot. We walked towards the stern of the ship, through a door, and she led me down some narrow metal stairs and into a crammed cave-like corridor where the sound of the engine became overwhelming. As we moved further down the corridor the sound of music mixed with the rhythm of the motor. When we were closer to a door at the far end of this corridor, I could hear carnivalesque screams of joy emanating from behind it. “Isn’t this weird?” she screamed over the noise, before she began to dance in front of the door with sensual movements. She invited me to join her. I badly wanted to overcome my shyness and dance with her. Instead my insecurity took over and I insisted that we should leave and head back towards the deck. “Come here!” She was getting into the music. “Please, dance with me!” She banged on the door to the rhythm and still got no reaction. I stopped and looked back at her dancing. I swung my hips ever so lightly while I tried to talk myself into joining her; slowly the joy of the music spread through my body and I approached her and we danced together in a strange separated coexistence with the other people on the other side of the locked door. She eventually stopped and put her arm on my shoulder. “This is fun,” she said, then sucked her finger. I asked her if she had hurt herself. “Let’s have something to eat!” She tussled my hair ran up the stairs ahead of me. When we returned to the table, Andrea’s starters had already been served. The dish was made of large green seeds and a yellow sauce and it was accompanied by a psychedelic video. I wolfed down the tiny dish. She congratulated me on my healthy appetite, informed me that they were lotus seeds and what wonderful effects they have on one’s well being. She said I could have hers, too, handed me the plate and got more wine from a handsome waiter. I gulped down the second helping, happy to have something in my stomach and yet the starter only seemed to make me hungrier. Then I noticed that the sea chart was looking very odd. I whispered to her that the sea chart no longer showed our location and that I didn’t know where I was any more. “We are here – always have and always will be. You don’t have to worry about anything.” She continued flirting with the waiter as Camila approached us. She kissed me on the cheek the way only Brazilians can and sat down next to us. We discussed what we had experienced so far. She asked me what I thought about her maps and we talked about medieval navigation and I was overcome by a deep and sudden urge to sleep. Was it the drinks, the food or the hallucinogenic images of the video playing that made me sleepy? Camila



said that it was probably the wind and gave me a scarf to wear which did make me feel better. “Have you seen Isabel?” I called out to Camila as she left, but she didn’t hear me. I turned around to talk to my lady-friend only find that she also had vanished.



Chapter 2

Cyclops I went outside and neither the scarf nor the fresh air cleared my dizziness. Two people wearing T-shirts with “I am Nobody” printed on the back were hugging in a contrived way and looking into the distance. The boat passed many quaint little houses that overlooked the water and often peeked out from fringes of trees behind irregularly shaped lawns that struggled with naked, rounded cliffs. I looked up and saw another seagull flying next to the chimney in the same mechanical fashion as the other one and concluded that Swedish gulls fly that way. Marcia came and gave me one of her warm hugs. We talked about all the empty space in this country. Me a Londoner, she a Carioca, agreed that perhaps this is what we fear the most: solitude, emptiness and stillness. I asked her about what she had made for the project. Maybe she had built the ship? She laughed and said that she hadn’t built this ship, however, she had built those and she pointed towards the islands. “You made all of those?” “Not all of them, but most,” she chuckled. The ship turned slightly to the east and steered through a narrow strait. On one island we could see two large oddly shaped medieval-looking stone buildings. I adjusted my scarf and we turned our gaze and peeked inside the boat. The windows were so steamy that drops of water formed and ran down on the inside of the glass. We could see that the lightly clad men and women, who Marcia referred to as “Sirens” were removing another part of their garments; some of the elderly ladies protested while their husbands looked quite content, Marcia excused herself, hugged me and disappeared down some metal stair. I thought about going in, but decided to stay and watch the passing islands now that I knew who had made them. I noticed that a woman was impersonating Stephen Hawking on the front deck and then pointed out the two castle-like structures to a tall man with dark hair who was standing next to me. I asked him what they were called and he informed me that the island was called Lökholmen or the “Onion Island” and yet he had never heard anyone calling it that. The locals call it “Krapp’s Gatt.” “Whose cat?” I asked. “Not cat,” he laughed, “We call it ‘gatt,’ it means ‘strait’ in Swedish.” “It is a magical place,” I said. “So, you know about it?” He looked at me with big eyes. “The locals say that time is out of joint there.” The local fishermen are Shakespearean scholars, I thought to myself while the man insisted that time really plays tricks on people on this island. He pointed to a small sand beach and said that many islanders had met their dead parents there. I thought about Hamlet again and at the same time I realized that I wasn’t talking to the same man. However, they looked quite similar –


just like the islands along our route. He said that at Krapp’s Gatt people share memories. I didn’t understand what he meant so he explained that through some strange telepathy he might be able to retell some of my childhood memories and I could spontaneously be able to recount what he did on his last holiday. I asked him how he knew this and he explained that in local folklore they had written about this for centuries. He had also been on this very ship and standing next to the Captain when he had seen what “that horrible man” had done to his children. I asked him what he meant, but he just stared at the horizon and my imagination started working... The wind was picking up again, my eyes were running and I asked him if he knew what the argument between the artists and Captain had been about. “There is a problem with the navigation,” he said, and put some Swedish tobacco under his lip. This fed my suspicions that something really was wrong with the ship. He explained that the artists suspected foul play. “Exciting!” My own words took me by surprise. “Do they have any leads?” Rather than replying, he departed on a long rant about pride, honour and how everyone is always looking for their true fathers and that fathers have always questioned the legitimacy their children. He talked about Odysseus, Telemachus, Strindberg and I was wondering when he was going to get to the point. “And who are you knowledgeable man?” I interrupted him. “Oh, I am nobody.” “What do you mean ‘nobody’?” He didn’t reply. “Well, if you are Nobody, then I am Famous – I am Polly Famous.” “Quite the joker,” he replied, grinning, before explaining that he knew I was a well-known orphaned English art critic, and said that he was a something of an artist himself as I would find out in due time. First I wanted to know how he knew that I was orphaned, but his “something of an artist” made alarm bells ring, so I was pleased when he took out his phone and held it out to me while nodding encouragingly. I looked at him with a questioning look and he encouraged me to say something into the machine. “I am an orphan,” I said, mocking him as we passed a brightly coloured buoy that rattled in the wake. He fiddled with the phone and then he played it back. “I am looking for my father.” I heard my own voice and the buoy in the background. “Hey how do you do that? I want that application!” “It has nothing to do with my phone.” He smiled and put his it back into his pocket. “Welcome to Krapp’s Gatt.” He patted me on the shoulder and left me alone on deck.






Chapter 3



Back inside, the young woman put her arm around me and asked me what I was worrying about now. I explained to her what the man had told me about the navigation system and how it explained the jerky movements of the ship. She countered by saying that I deserved a PhD in paranoia. “Your hair looks lovely, blonder and curlier. How could you have it done so quickly?” I changed the subject. “Thank you, that’s more like it.” She posed, pouting her lips. “Maybe there’s a hair salon in the party downstairs?” “Did you get in?” “Maybe? Don’t you think a woman like me can get in everywhere?” It struck me that one would have to grant this woman her every wish. When I told her, she ran her fingers through my hair and said that I was cute. She suggested that maybe she was like Pallas Athena, constantly shape-shifting into different people and also with the power to transform others. I agreed that she did indeed have some divine traits and I was waiting to see more of her transformative powers. “You will indeed,” she said, and congratulated me on my flattering remarks. She also encouraged me to develop my predator instincts and suggested that I should visualize myself as a lion or a wolf as often as possible. “You should let me stay over at your place when there’s a full moon,” I replied jokingly. “Mmm, I like that.” She eyed me. “Let me buy you a drink.” I replied that I shouldn’t drink more and that I needed to focus on the article. She ignored my remark, said that she wanted to surprise me, dragged me towards the bar and bought two glasses of white wine and handed me one. We toasted and I said that her choice was not very surprising. She told me not to judge the book by the cover, winked her eye and repeated that I was too uptight; that my problem was that I was too scared of losing control. “This is all going to be history and everything will change when you embrace the drug and let it open your consciousness,” she went on. I replied that alcohol and coffee were the only drugs I take, to which she replied laughingly that at that moment I was doing more elaborate drugs. “No, I’m not!” “It is too late.” “What do you mean?” I looked into my glass. She laughed loudly and informed me that I had a few minutes before the drugs kicked in. I immediately started to feel nauseous and I put down my glass – rather than opening my vision of the world, it only blurred it. She explained that I was going to become another person with higher consciousness and got out her phone and showed me images of Egyptian and Oaxacan gods. I looked at the phone and the images of the gods. There was an Egyptian tomb with a character with a large disk over its head and the Mexican god looked surprisingly similar. She said that my spirituality was going to emerge and we were going to live something exceedingly Dionysian together.


Chapter 4

King Ailos In the middle of the open sea the ship made its way around the islands. The vessel was rocking gently in the waves and the Sirens began distributing bags to everyone in the audience. The visitors scrutinized the content and pulled out paper bags, each one with a pig’s head printed on it, and put them over their heads. All of a sudden I was sailing on a sea of pigs. I didn’t get a bag and tried to catch the attention of one of the Sirens, to no avail. Instead I found a 1970s-style radio in the bag that was equipped with instructions. I turned it on and started moving around the boat according to the manual. Wherever I went it played a potpourri of sounds, voices and music connected to the Odyssey. Many of the pigs were moving around with their radios creating a sound collage adding depth to the surreal situation. “I am nobody,” a pig whispered in my ear. I followed the creature with my gaze and noticed that we were back at the castle again. I wondered if we had already turned back and asked one of the crew if we were back at Krapp’s Gatt. “This is the Bay of Pigs,” a pig oinked loudly, the ship jerked and the creature stole my bag and ran off with it. I started to chase after the animal and my mind was invaded by images of uniformed men doing atrocious things to children. I purged my consciousness of the images and reached for the pig and its bag. At the same time ship accelerated, my legs gave in, I fell and I hit the back of my head against something big and hard – everything went black. When I regained consciousness, Isabel and Valerio asked me if I was OK and helped me up. My head hurt like hell and my entire body was pounding as if onset by fever. I could hear somebody say that I looked very pale and they led me to the bridge while repeating reassuring words. They brought me up some narrow stairs and laid me down on a soft couch and put a bag of ice to my head. I mumbled that the ship was dangerous and that there are so many islands out there that we could ram into, we should return to shore without further ado. “I am sure that the Captain knows this better than you,” Valerio said and helped me to find a comfortable position on the couch. Isabel told me to eat something, saying that it was black-root soup. I wondered why it was called black root when the soup was white and then I gulped it down. The food did me a world of good and I could tell that the view was great from the bridge and I gradually felt better. “What are you doing, you idiot?” The Captain yelling at the Chief Mate cut my enjoyment short. “I am sorry, the steering is totally out of control!” “Do I have to do everything?” the Captain took over with an agitated look. “Wow, it really is totally crazy,” he grunted. “I told you so,” the Chief Mate said with renewed pride.


I was pleased to see the young lady coming up the stairs. “Wow, it really is a Möbius trip,” she proclaimed and sat down next to me and offered me a sip of her wine to calm me down. “We have been going around in circles all day; maybe our Captain hit his head as well?” she said making sure the Captain heard. “Is the radio still acting up?” he yelled and one of the crewmen replied that they were online again and that everything was looking good. The young lady enquired how I felt and I replied that I didn’t feel particularly spiritual. I was also curious to know what she had put in my drink. She fed me more soup and assured me that she hadn’t put anything in my drink and asked if I really had taken her joke seriously. “You are supposed to have the hole above your head and not in your head, stupid!” she said jokingly. “I am glad that you feel better. Let’s go downstairs; we will reach our destination soon,” she said, picking up my bag. “Are you up for a visit to a secret island?” I started to get up, holding the bag of ice to my head and I let her know that I was still sure that she had poisoned me. “Yeah, I am Circe and the soup was made of Moly,” she chuckled. “I would appreciate if you all left,” the Captain said glaring at the woman. “Reboot the radio, whatever is interfering with the navigating equipment is still out there, damn it!” We left the bridge and as soon as we were out of earshot of the Captain, she immediately announced that at least we knew with certainty that there is a problem with the navigation. I thought to myself that there must be less sadistic ways of establish that. Why did she have to poison me and hit me over the head? “What about the guy who told me?” I asked. “I guess he is our man and now we have to find him,” she took my arm. “It’s getting more enjoyable by the minute.” Her eyes glistened with excitement.


Chapter 5

The Underworld All the guests congregated in the ship’s theatre-like space as Per explained how the visit to the island would take place. I looked for my Telemachus, the man who had told me about the radio malfunction. To my great disappointment I could not see him. The mystery lady motioned that I should point him out and I signaled back that he had disappeared. I thought that I could surely approach him on the island, but my plan was shattered because each passenger was handled a blindfold and a headset connected to a 1980s-looking player with an odd logotype that spelled “PerSeePhone.” We formed a long line and were told to hold onto a rope. Of all my fears, this is what freaked me out the most. I had already struggled to overcome my fear by being on board a jerky boat for hours, and now I was being asked to visit an unknown island blindfolded – the situation was made worse by the fact that the others seemed to accept the plan without any objections. “We will shortly arrive at the island and it is essential that you keep your blindfolds and headphones on at all time. You will be guided through the visit through the headphones, that is why its essential that you keep them on at all times. You will be guided through the visit by a recorded voice that you will hear on the headphones. You will simply walk forward by holding onto the rope. If you have an emergency, just raise your hand and we will assist you,” Andrea explained. Four men immediately raised their hands and everyone laughed. “Not that kind of emergency,” Marcia snickered. We put on the blindfolds, started moving forward in a long, undulating snake formation; the boat slowed down and I bumped into the woman in front of me. She kept giggling and spoke Swedish while the tall man behind me kicked at my heels and apologized as we advanced. The boat shook smoothly as we moored on the island. “Welcome to the underworld,” a female voice whispered. I heard abstract sounds that suggested swords being moved in and out of sheaths, while a sexual groaning or lament of pain grew louder. Someone took me by the arm, which startled me. “Be careful with the step,” a deep male voice instructed me and I walked through a sturdy door. When we were outdoors I felt a soft wind and heard a dog barking incessantly. We went up slightly and the sound of women’s heels clicking against the planks of the landing reverberated in a large empty space as the hypnotic voice told us the story of the island. I got more confident and I could hear water running below my feet and we started to descend slightly as we left the boat behind. On the island the ground was soft as if we were walking on wet moss and music played. I held onto the rope and moved forward into the darkness.





































Chapter 6

Chapter 7



My hands held on to the tight rope as I moved across the landing and back onto the boat. The music died down and I heard people breathing in front and behind me. We walked down a corridor, up some stairs and we were ushered onto the stern deck in dense silence. The wind had died down. The engines started up and the boat accelerated gently which provoked a strange and enjoyable feeling in my gut. I let go of the rope and was led by hand to a chair on which I sat down. I could hear people breathing on all sides and the faint noises as the others were ushered to their chairs. We were told to keep our blindfolds and headphones on and there was a solemn silence. The movement of the boat gained momentum and a cool air brushed against our faces. A short burst of evocative electronic music made up of various water sounds merging in syncopated rhythm played in my headphones. Something crackled oddly and a rough sound collage began; babies were crying, German soldiers were screaming and a shaky voice retold the story of an orphaned boy and his problematic relationship to an old man who was his legal guardian and how he grew up to eventually start a radio station. The story was a moving tale of a young man trying to regain his pride in the face of personal suffering. However, it was hard to follow the narrative and to see how it was connected to the other projects on the trip. I must have dozed off and woke up hearing technical details about radio technology and a diatribe against a sea captain and his despicable actions. I hated myself for falling asleep since I had missed crucial information about our Telemachus. The headphones crackled again and the rhythmic water sounds returned shortly and then faded out. “You may remove your blindfolds and headphones now,” Egill and Lillevän announced. The light was blinding and I could see that everyone was blinking and covering their eyes. When I had gotten used to the brightness, I could see a series of brightly coloured pillars of smoke rise up from where the island must have been. No one spoke or looked at each other, everyone kept their eyes on the smoke, making the silence palpable and increasingly loud.

The summer evening had begun to fold the world in its mysterious embrace. The sea was calm and the sun’s rays were twisted into an orange hue. Everything was quiet and peaceful, the humming of the engines took centre stage as the sound mounted and fell drastically, creating a theatrical effect. The speakers kept making a high-pitched, whining noise and everyone on the boat was engaged in introspection. I sat down to take some notes and discussed the sound collage with my lady-friend. I spotted Samon and grabbed him by the arm and asked him what he had contributed to the project apart from the play lists. He said that he had cloned the audience. I pointed out that the seagulls are strange and we looked at a bird that was flying next to the chimney. “I have a feeling that the flapping of its wings corresponds to the sound in the loudspeakers.” “Yeah?” His eyes were following the seagull, and then he cupped his ears and nodded in agreement. I enquired about the strange references to orphans, pride, revenge and radio technology and how they were connected to the Odyssey and rest of the project. He said that he didn’t know what I was talking about and appeared sincere. I explained that after the visit to the island there was a diatribe about an odd boy and his radio station. I also told him that I had bumped into a man who said that there was a problem with the navigation. The ship made another odd turn and we both held on to the railing and I realized that we all had gotten used to the jerky movements. “What does this have to do with our project?” He stared at me with an annoyed look. “That is exactly my question.” “Excuse me for butting in.” Cecilia was out of breath. “I need to talk to Samon.” “Can you talk to the Captain again?” She took him by the arm. “He is going insane and Isabel and Per are both too emotional – they are making things worse.” “OK,” he said. “We have to talk about this later.” He excused himself and walked off towards the bridge in discussion with Cecilia. I asked myself, why wouldn’t they admit that there was a problem with the navigation? Was the whole thing a part of the artistic project or did they really have difficulties and didn’t want us to know? I went to have another look at Camila’s sea monsters.





Chapter 8

Charybdis I came out of the small gallery thinking about operating theatres when I noticed that a large video monitor next to the bar had caught the audience’s attention. A large group of people was watching it with open mouths. After inquiring, I found out that four people were stranded on a small rocky island. They did not know where they were and they had no recollection of how they got there – they just woke up on an island dressed as samurais. They appeared to be suffering from amnesia and they did not know each other. As a matter of fact, they didn’t even speak the same language. The situation was uncomfortable and I assumed that they must have felt terribly trapped. “They fight for food and power. It seems that they negotiate a common understanding in order not to kill each other,” a short, bearded man with an American accent whispered to me. “And it gets even stranger, because they say that there are talking stones, a monolith and a giant egg on the island as well.” “Have you seen any of these?” “No.” His eyes were glued to the screen. “How long has this been going on?” I asked. “Look, there is another samurai!” The American cut me short. “I haven’t seen this one before.” “Hello, is there anyone out there?” the samurai said in the wind. “Can someone hear me? I need help! I am lost!” he looked down. “I was surfing the Internet, looking for banks in the Cayman Islands … then oops, I was teleported here! It’s too cold to be the Caribbean and there sure as hell are no banks here!” He paused “And who are these people?” He motioned to the other men in the same predicament. “If this is a dream, it is a real nightmare.” He looked down angrily. “And how did this iPhone materialize in my hand? And why the fuck am I dressed like a samurai? Is this a movie set?” There was some serious interference on the screen. “Hello, can anyone see me?” Another man in identical outfit stared blankly at us with an empty expression. “Can someone explain? Where am I? And this is not my iPad! Mine is black. I would never buy a blue one.” He looked to the sky. “Nothing seems real any more. Am I dead?” He walked in circles with his head hung low. “For days I have only seen the sea and those weirdo samurais!” He looked straight onto the camera as if he were talking to us. “Do they know how to use their swords?” His eyes filled with terror. “Am I in danger? Is this a sadist reality-TV show? I will sue your asses into orbit when I am back home!” The image flickered and a third man sat with his feet in the water. “Is this a cosplay thing?” He looked up. “No it can’t be, samurais were warriors, not superheroes; they don’t belong to pop culture.” He got up. “I was travelling on a bus when suddenly I appeared

here. Was there a bomb on the bus or did I die in a car crash? Hello there? What is happening? It’s a nightmare. Get me out of here! Give me back my life!” “Help, please.” “Is there someone on the other side?” “Say something?” “Where are we?” “Can someone see us?” The stranded men’s appeals were heartbreaking. “Someone needs to inform my family.” One of them held up a sign with a telephone number scribbled on it and there was a pause while many in the audience got out their phones and tried to call. “Hello?” Someone from the audience whispered into the microphone next to the screen, as it dawned on us that maybe there was two-way communication. “Hello?” one of the Samurais whispered back. “Are you OK? “Who are you?” “Where are you?” “Where are you?” one of them asked. “What are you talking about? Do you see me? Do you know where we are?” another Samurai asked. “Well,” a man close to the screen said. “We are a group of people on a boat, we are taking a voyage together, which is a kind of an art exhibition. We are in the archipelago of Stockholm.” “Stockholm?” He looked up in confusion. “How could I be teleported to Sweden of all places?” “This I cannot answer. However, you are being presented to us as a part of an



artistic performance on a boat in Sweden.” There was a pause. “Still we don’t know where you are.” “What we can say,” an intellectual-looking member of the audience said coolly, as he took the microphone, “is that the landscape looks similar to where we are and so does the weather and time of day.” “What? So you say that this is a kind of a game?” one of the samurais cut in. “Are you saying that we are part of a theatre play and that our suffering is your entertainment?” “Look!” another samurai said. “Whoever you are, wherever you are, you better believe that this is real! We have been teleported here against our will.” The other samurais nodded in agreement. “And we are being observed like lab rats. It’s like the movie Hunger Games. Is that why we are dressed like samurais? To kill each other?” The screen went dead and quickly loud discussions broke out in the audience. Someone ran off to talk to the Captain and others to discuss with the crew and organizers. After a while the screen flickered back on again and the audience immediately went silent and gravitated towards the moving images. We saw one of the samurais talking into his iPad. We could still see the others fighting in the background. The image quality was bad, so we couldn’t see clearly what was happening. “Are you still there? Is there someone who can hear us, see us?” We saw the fear in the samurai’s eyes. “We have a situation here, things are getting out of control and you need to find us. You have to help us.” He hesitated. “I would like to explain how this fighting started, but it happened so fast… I can’t really understand why.” The fighting escalated and suddenly one samurai cut off another man’s arm, the audience responded with uncontrolled expressions of disgust. “We need to get out of here!” another one of the samurais screamed as he saw that the others had discovered that they could actually easily maneuver the swords. “They are really first class ninjas!” The violence escalated and the audience felt increasingly ill at ease watching the events unfold. “Look! There they are!” Someone screamed and pointed to an island outside the window. “Fuck, yes!” My American friend screamed and everyone crammed up against the window. “We have to inform the Captain!” He went on and ran towards the bridge. “Stop the fighting! We can help you!” a woman screamed into the microphone and the combat came to a halt. “We are here, we will save you, we will get you home!” “Where?” “We are in the big white boat, straight in front of you!” The ship slowed down and we turned towards the island. “Which white boat? We can’t see you.” “I get it,” the American said, and approached the microphone. “The sun is behind us, so maybe you cannot make us out. Look straight at the sun.” The crowd hummed in appreciation and the group of samurais turned towards



the boat. “We see the sun, but where are you?” “Help me!” a wounded man screamed. The boat approached the group of warriors and still they looked straight through us. “Where the fuck are you? Is this another trick? Enough with this evil sadism.” “You have to see us, we are right in front of you!” the American gasped and the group left the monitor and ran out onto deck where we could see the samurais less than 50 yards away. Still they looked straight through us. “You can’t leave us here, you have to help us! Get us away from here!” “It’s your fault,” one samurai said and gave another man a push. “They were here and now you scared them away!” “We are right in front of you,” someone yelled, but the message was muffled by the scream of a warrior who had a sword plunged into his chest, gushes of blood spurted as he fell dying to the ground. The fighting flared up again even deadlier than before; the boat reversed and there was great commotion on the bridge. “I have informed the police. That is all we can do.” The speakers crackled and the Captain proclaimed that it was not safe to move any closer to the island and yet his calm voice had little effect. There broke out loud arguments on board and carnage ashore. An older woman became hysterical, shouting that we could not let them kill each other; a young man tried to dive in but was pulled back on the ship by two crew members. The more rational people in the audience tried to calm the others by assuring that it was only art - something that infuriated most people even more. I tried to find one of the organizers to see if they could calm the crowd, but they were nowhere to be found.



Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Oxen of the Sun


After the samurai incident the mood on the ship was subdued and signs of tiredness started to show. Many were irritable and tussles broke out regularly. The sun was setting and we heard Andrea’s voice over the speaker system announcing that the main course would be served shortly. We all sat down around the tables, I touched the well-ironed tablecloth and the heavy silverware; it didn’t take long until the Sirens showed up pouring a blood red claret in our glasses and well-hung meat of different sorts. As the food was ingested the conversations picked up and the general mood improved. After dinner, the ship slowed down again and I could see two creatures approaching us in a canoe. First I thought they were samurais, but when they got closer I could see that they were creatures wearing white jumpsuits. They were covered in reddish fur and their pointy ears were protruding through their black bowler hats. The female creature that was sitting in front of her male partner took out a megaphone and started screaming in Swedish. They blocked our passage and refused to move. I asked Cecilia what they were saying and she explained that they refused to let us enter into their territory. The Captain sounded the horn, which enraged the creatures more and he tried to pass them on either side. That too proved impossible since they were far more agile in their canoe than our big ship. In the end the ship reversed and after a short distance we moved forward and turned to the north. We travelled through a long, narrow natural canal between two islands and looking towards the stern we could see that two creatures in a canoe were cheering victoriously. We were moving at low speed while smooth granite rocks passed us on both sides and I was pretty sure I could see more creatures following us between the trees. After a short while there was a loud thud, the ship came to a halt and the engines idled. “This is it!” I thought to myself. “We are sinking!” Everyone in the audience moved to the stern and to our great surprise the narrow strait was blocked by a large iceberg. The ship backed up and with slightly more speed hit the iceberg with a louder and deeper sound, the ice colossus moved yet stayed intact. I kept thinking about the Titanic. On the third try, the iceberg was shattered into a thousand pieces and we advanced again while the ice sloshed against the hull creating a beautiful sound. I went to the stern to see how the blocks of ice bobbed up and down in the wake and some were crushed against the granite on both sides. There were hundreds of small blocks of ice that glittered in the sunset as we entered into a larger pool of open water and the ship picked up speed. I thought that I caught a glimpse of Telemachus at the bar and I rushed in, but the man was nowhere to be found. Instead, Cecilia offered me a refreshing drink that was full to the brim with ice and had a red colour that reminded me of the creatures in the canoe.

Valerio presented the next art piece while the Sirens served mint tea. The boat had stopped again and floated a few metres away from a small island. From the ship’s bridge a beam projected a video onto a large, smooth, vertical rock. It was dark and the sky had a deep royal blue hue. Once I was in the open I followed the images of swimmers who were engaged in improbable humorous and inventive swimming styles in a pool. Inspired by the projection, two blond men got undressed and dove into the water, others started following their example and the water started boiling next to the vertical rock. “This is the Captain,” the loudspeakers roared, “swimming is strictly forbidden. Get out of the water immediately!” The swimmers did as they were told but showed their disapproval by giving the finger to the Captain who responded by sounding the horn – something that made the audience jump, old ladies clutch their hearts and the swimmers even more agitated. I looked into the dark sea and something attracted my attention. I watched in amazement how the images of the swimmers were reflected in the water. I could swear that there was a milky sea effect that gave a special depth to the video images. The water was glowing with phosphorescent plankton. “Look!” I said to a short old lady with peroxide hair and lively eyes who was leaning on the railing. “Is that a milky sea effect?” “Yes, it is,” she replied and we stared into the dark sea. “You’re the art critic aren’t you?” “Yes, I am,” we shook hands. “How am I ever going to put this experience into writing?” She said that she was sure that I would do a marvellous job and that I only needed to access the readers’ curiosity. “I am more adventurous than this morning, maybe that is something I can build on?” She found that an excellent start and we talked about the visit to the island and what we had experienced. I asked her if she had met any ghosts from the past or any famous people. With her deep voice she explained how she had experienced an unexpected escapade with Yves Klein. We looked up and as if by magic the sky was perfectly IKB-coloured. We discussed whether the blue colour of the drink with the eye in was alluding to Klein’s drinks and if our urine would be a blue colour the following day, just like the guests at his opening had experienced over 50 years ago? We talked about the Odyssey and especially the beginning; how the 20-year old Telemachus had doubts about his father whom he had never met. I told her about my meeting with the ship’s own Telemachus, the problems with the navigation and I wondered if it all was part of the art or not.



She explained that she made up the story about Klein because she couldn’t quite formulate what had happened on the island. “I just listened to the soundtrack and held onto the rope as I walked,” she said. “Still when the coloured smoke rose to the sky. I could swear that I had talked to my dead father about my dominant older sister during the visit on the island.” I admitted that I had also experienced an encounter with my father. I explained that I had never met him, I did not know who he was and still he had been there. But like she said, it didn’t happen until I came back on the boat. “Let’s go and have something sweet, we deserve it,” she said taking my arm at the same time the speakers announced we were arriving at Krapp’s Gatt. I could just about make out the two towers in the dark. The old woman and I sat down to enjoy the dessert and I started feeling queasy again. “I am nobody,” people around the table whispered and I realized that they were wearing the pigs’ heads again. “Are you OK?” the old woman asked. “You look terribly pale.” I drank some of the water she offered and told her that I would be fine. I wanted to ask if she also could see the pigs, but I was too shy. So instead I asked her if we could ever be sure of our own sanity. “Do you want to be sane?” “Sure, doesn’t everyone?” She said that sanity was overrated and if there is anything that she regretted in her long life, it was not allowing herself to be crazier. Her words made me feel better and I asked her why she wanted to embrace madness. She said that when you let yourself go you can really discover who you are and she meant that boring people with no sense of humour popularized sanity in order to cover for their own insecurity. We toasted to future insanities and drank something I suspected to be a Tokay. I was curious about what she said and enquired if she thought that we were born with a strong individuality or if we develop our difference in our lifetime. She explained, while patting my hand, that my question was wrongly formulated. “We are all the same and infinitely different at the same time,” she said. “You have to cultivate who you are; nurture becoming as much yourself as possible.” She explained that one should do so, not only to improve the quality of one’s own life, but more importantly so that one can give more to family, friends and audience. She meant that this is the most fundamental and beautiful paradox in life. “The truer a person becomes to herself, the more generous she also becomes?” I asked. “You could say that.” She scooped up the last bit of the dessert. “The way that you generously shared your experience with me tonight?” “Very sweet.” She raised her glass and I wasn’t sure if she was talking about my remark, the dessert or me. “Here’s to past insanities!” As we were drinking, my mind was invaded by images of Polyphemus, the Cyclops blinded by Odysseus, throwing rocks at the escaping hero in his ship. I was sitting on one of the rocks as it landed in the sea to form an island, which transformed into memories of the voyage that Valerio and I had underta-



ken together a few years ago. We visited an island that was infernally hot at the time, there was no wind and 45-46 degrees Celsius – the place was on fire. The heat was so imposing that I almost couldn’t breathe. And when the wind gave us a bit of refuge, everything quickly was covered by black volcanic sand that stuck onto everything. “I remember there was a part of the island where there were natural pools,” a sporty looking gentleman across the table said, surprising both the old lady and I. “The pools were not as jellyfish - infested as the sea and the water was warmer. The jellyfish were a problem; they were everywhere. Some days when there were specific currents, it was impossible to swim – that is how plentiful they were,” he paused. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “I am describing the island the two of you were just thinking about.” He looked at the old woman who nodded. “Do you also remember seeing sharks, turtles and dolphins from a raft that I built?” the woman inquired. She seemed to be surprised by her own words. “Yes,” I replied. “I remember that a woman didn’t want me to get on the raft. She wanted to keep me in a cave and only let me go when I cried,” I went on. “The island was visited by droves of single youngsters and in the heat a certain desperate eroticism grew,” the sporty man filled in. “The pharmacist, a woman called Circe Vecchia, a short, ugly woman with big breasts, and curly blond hair introduced the local teenagers to the visitors,” the man went on, “in something that bordered on prostitution.” “The owner of the only bar, Nausicko was an old rocker who liked to sit naked behind the counter while playing a white electric guitar,” the woman continued. “He built a stage in front of the place so his two kids, a 13-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl could organize concerts. The two were talented and the boy had an amazing voice: when he sang he emitted magnificent and unbelievable sounds,” the man stopped. “Then my father appeared.” “Yes, then my father appeared,” the old woman said and we looked at each other. We remained silent looking at each other and then I recounted what the man had told me earlier about how Krapp’s Gatt make us share memories and how he had experienced what the Captain had done to his children. Both of them looked at me with incomprehension. “What did he do to his children?” they asked in chorus.



Chapter 11

Telemachus The boat had stayed motionless while coffee was being served and we were still not moving when the Sirens brought in the brandy. The artists gathered together with the crew and when everyone was present the Captain appeared before us with a solemn look, took the microphone and confessed that it was a shameful moment for him as a Captain to have to make this announcement. I could see my Telemachus appearing behind him with a big smile. I chased after him while the Captain explained that the trip has been sabotaged as most of us had probably noticed since our mobile phones had been dead virtually all evening. Most members of the audience looked at their phones and concluded that there was no reception and his words were met with suspicion. There was much whispering and people looked upset. I looked everywhere, but I could not find Telemachus. Isabel confirmed what the Captain had said: from the moment we left Stockholm someone had been tampering with the navigation system. The Captain said that no one knew who was responsible. They did know that strong radio signals were emitted on or close to the boat and still didn’t know exactly how it was done. “We suspect it is a mechanical seagull,” Per said, and the remark was met by laughter. “The Captain has pissed Poseidon off,” someone screamed to everyone’s amusement. When calm descended again, Isabel went on to say many of the sounds that we had heard today – both in the loudspeakers and in the headphones were hijacked and were not produced by the artists. “The bottom line, my friends,” the Captain said firmly, “and it pains me to say this, is that in the dark I cannot guarantee our safe return to Stockholm.” There was an outburst of angry reactions. “Please, please! Let the Captain speak!” Isabel shouted. “What about lighthouses? People have been navigating in these waters for hundreds of years. Surely there is something that can be done,” Atle shouted. The Captain replied that had this happened a few years ago, he would have gotten us back in no time. However, because everything is Internet-based, he could not navigate in the dark without a reliable connection. Andrea asked where we were and if it was far from Stockholm and we were informed that we were at Krapp’s Gatt, not far from Waxholm. Cecilia asked whether the coast guard would help us and the Captain said that nobody was going to help us. “Maybe if we’d helped the samurais someone would’ve helped us!” a shrill voice called out. While Per and Isabel hushed the audience, the Captain cleared his throat and announced he had a solution. There were two small islands not far from where


we were and he would drop us off on these. There would be rowing boats available and we could row to Waxholm, where a coach would pick you up. “It is not more than a 15-minute row,” he said. The suggestion was met with loud booing. I wanted to ask if it was safe, but then a foreign feeling entered my heart and I walked over to the mystery lady and whispered how exciting I found the situation. She looked back with a surprised expression. The Captain announced that he was going to make some slow maneuvers with the help of the crew and shortly we would be on land. He had to stay on the ship throughout the night. But he assured us that the Chief Mate would take good care of us and passed the microphone to him. It was explained that we were going to make some complicated maneuvers and that it was essential that we pay close attention to his instructions. If they were followed no one would be harmed and we were all going to be safe. He then explained the whole procedure and answered questions. The two men left and the discussions started quietly and quickly gained momentum while everyone put on life jackets. “Nobody is back at Krapp’s Gatt,” I whispered to myself.




Chapter 12

Wandering Rocks When the full moon revealed its face from behind some clouds all the audience, artists and crew were sitting on two rocks separated by a tiny strait. The sea was still, like a giant mirror and the moon offered a glorious light and I thought that it ought to be enough to navigate the boat to Stockholm. Still I said nothing, because I could not think of anywhere that I would rather be than on the bare granite next to my mystery lady. Lillevän and Egill took turns explaining to us how the trip should have ended with a grand finale and what that entailed. Suddenly a tussle broke out between two young men. “Why can’t they all just get along?” said one of the two rocks in a low voice. The fighting stopped and everyone’s attention was directed towards the two faces of the two rocks and as I watched some small icebergs float by I smiled at Cecilia and she smiled back. “Who?” the other rock responded. “The humans. I mean look at that radio fanatic destroying the art and those samurais killing each other.” “What do we care? We are millions of years old, who cares about a few billion humans? They are mayflies! Here today, gone tomorrow. The human era will soon only be a different coloured line in a sedimentary rock.” “You are right, we have to put these things in perspective. Our perspective.” It paused. “Still, let’s face it; waves, sun, wind, rain, ice ages, crustaceans and fish nibbling at you gets boring after a few hundred million years. If we reflect about the human predicament maybe time will pass quicker?” “I would opt for a more entertaining and attractive neighbour,” the other rock softly scoffed. “So would I,” the rock wanted to make a grimace, but its stone face prevented it. “For the sake of argument, let’s try to understand why they fight.” “It’s easy, they are not like us. They have feelings and they have instincts that basically make their nature is violent. Bear in mind that they have to eat other living matter in order to survive – whether is plant or meat.” The rock paused. “Also, remember they recently made knives from us.” “So, somehow they have to overcome these violent impulses, otherwise they behave like beasts.” “Human beings are beasts.” “Hey, we can hear you!” someone in the audience screamed. “Ignore them,” the rock went on. “Look at that Greek guy slaughtering 108 men and they hadn’t even touched his wife because she undid her knitting every evening.” “That was a story and was written almost three millennia ago.” “So, they still hail him as the biggest hero ever. I tell you, they are beasts; they enslave each other, sometimes out of greed or because of a desire for power,



sometimes through the force of love, sometimes out of habit.” “Sad!” “Even when they find love, they play power games.” “Thank heaven we remain stones - compared to them we get along well, no?” “I guess so, still it would be nice if you could scratch my back!” “No such luck!” “You are such a bore.” It pauses. “Did you know that if you grow up with monkeys you only love monkeys?” “It might be true for monkeys, but not for rocks and ducks.” “What do you mean?” “You remember The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen?” ”Yeah, my mum used to read that to me when I was a pebble.” The audience laughed. “Damn, you are stupid!” “Humans care about things that they are exposed to; objects that they recognize, that they affect and are affected by.” “That is a load of crap. They are exposed to us and still we are just considered inanimate objects. Where’s the care in that? It’s not as if they make knives and stone axes out of each other!” “True, but they do have ‘philosopher stones,’ don’t they?” “Yeah, I would like to meet one of them. They must be very wise, not like you.” “You see that plant on top of your head? It eats flies. It is a carnivorous plant. It sucks the protein out of flies. It can’t help doing that because it’s the plant’s nature. It doesn’t have a choice. However, people’s nature is in their minds! They can choose differently.” “Yes like us! They should learn from us stones to relax more, chill in the sun, wind and rain, and be content with existence.” “And think more!” the stone became quiet. “And have more sex.” “Sex?” “But then again, even sex got fucked up.” “Yeah, it was fucked up from the beginning of times – always problematic…” “Hey, did you know that sex improves your self-esteem?” “Cool.” It tried to smile. “If I fuck you, I become a giant diamond?” “No silly, but it increases bladder control, reduces depression, counteracts colds, relieves pain thanks to the rush of oxytocin that precedes orgasm – sex is not just good, it’s good for you!” “Who cares? I have not been depressed for a few million years, I haven’t had a cold since the last Ice Age and the only pain I experience is induced by the proximity of you.” It paused. “I am certainly no authority on sex, but I still think it remains what it is rather than being a combined vitamin and anti-depressant.” They both looked silently into the distance. “However, it would be cool to think like them.” “Yeah, to create like them, imagine things, make up stories – I mean they can make us talk; we can’t make them talk. Everything we do is a response to something outside.”

“Whatever!” “I wonder why they love zombie movies?” “Maybe it’s because they are terrified of dying?” “Or why are they scared of vampires? I like those creatures; they are like us – they don’t die.” “Yes, it seems silly to die. Ageing isn’t bad, but why die?” “Yes, they should stop this whole dying business. I think they would be happier and fight less.”



Chapter 13

Calypso Someone yelled that the rowing boats had appeared and everyone turned around. The boats had indeed materialised behind us. I realized that they were the same lifeboats that the mystery lady had pointed out to me when we first met. I asked her how long she said we could spend in them. “I never said anything about us,” she smiled. “You could spend three weeks in one of them.” “And with you?” I eyed her. “We would have a wonderful time, alone and away from the world – just you and I.” “Where did this adventurous romantic person come from?” She stepped into the boat and I followed her. “I have created a monster.” “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You might have unleashed the monster – but you hardly created it.” We were pushed into the still sea and started rowing. It was both easier and more fun than I imagined. Rhythmically, Clop-whish-slash-clop, the meeting between oars and water grew into a peaceful aquatic opera as a dozen boats cut through the black liquid. The repetitive sounds reminded me of the sound piece that was played in the headphones before it was cut short our Telemachus. The mystery lady pointed out that the oars that we were using were the same as the one that we had on our cards. I smiled back at her and we rowed in silence. My thoughts went to the winnowing oar at the end of The Odyssey and I thought that we should make a sacrifice to Poseidon when we got to Waxholm. I asked her which of the people on this boat she would sacrifice to the earth-shaker, while I eyed the other people rowing. She said she would start with the artists and keep the doctors to the end. She laughed and said that I would obviously be her first choice. I suggested that we could throw all the other people overboard and elope for three weeks. She declined, saying that she played a different role in my life and when I enquired what that might be she said that she was Circe and had transformed me into a tiger. “So, no eloping?” I asked. “No, my tiger.” She kissed me gently on the cheek. “Not tonight.” I concluded that Poseidon was going to be pissed off and at the same moment a giant seagull landed on the railing a few inches away from me and I screamed in terror. “Hey, orphan critic!” said the bird, its eyes blinking cheap-diode-coloured red. “Circe, give me my Moly, I am hallucinating!” I said and grabbed the girl’s arm. “I am hallucinating too,” she exclaimed. “So am I,” another rowing man said and grabbed the bird that hissed and insisted on being released. “You have been fucking with us the entire trip, haven’t you?” he screamed at the bird. “We should be sipping Martinis in a lounge and thanks to you we are rowing in the bloody dark!”



The bird yelped that it needed to speak to me privately and I wondered why it had chosen me. “Hey, it’s for you.” The man held the bird like giant phone to my ear. “Hello?” I said grabbing the bird. I could feel the cold steel under the feathers. The bird insisted that I had to convey a message to the world; I had grown up an orphan so I would understand. It said that I had to tell the world what the Captain had done to his children. I should also proclaim that it is our birthright to know our fathers and that fathers have the right to know their children, only then could we regain our pride and the world would become a fair and equal place. The bird went silent and the man grabbed it from my hand and held it to his ear. “Did you screw with the navigation?” he screamed. “I will drown you.” The man held the seagull over the railing threatening to drop it into the sea. I grabbed the man by the arm and said that the gull was the only proof we had for the sabotage. “Yes, put it in a zip lock bag, it’s evidence,” the girl chuckled. “Evidence number 1,” the man said while he put the bird in a plastic bag with a big smile. We continued rowing while the bird was rattling, cursing and blinking in its bag. It continued to wheeze profanities about the Captain and to repeat conspiracy theories in the bag. When the thing finally went quiet a fight broke out on one of the other boats. The Chief Mate, however, cut the brawl short and I could see that the man responsible was our Telemachus. He screamed that the Captain should be incarcerated. He shouted that he deserved to be respected in society for his exploits with radio technology. “I want my pride back!” he yelled. I could see that the blond old woman went over to him and put a blanket over his shoulder and hugged him. They chatted and she dried the tears from his eyes and comforted him; finally, his head rested in her lap and she stroked his hair, nodding to the Chief Mate. The quiet night took over and we were left to reflect on how life unfolds for parents, children and orphans alike. The oars went clop-whish-slash-clop and the Waxholm fortress became visible in the dark blue distance, reflected doubly in the calm surface. Everything in the world was doubled, everything a reflection.



































The Hitchhikers’

Guide to Islands



This guide collects examples of islands in no particular order, to be followed in no particular direction.

Bouvet Island

Islands of Refreshment

54°25.8’S 3°22.8’E

37.1167° S, 12.2833° W

Off-Antarctica. Also known as Bouvetøya, it was claimed by Norway in 1927 before having been claimed by the British and other Europeans for reasons unbeknownst to modern people. It is the most remote place on Earth, uninhabited, except for occasional birds, seals and some penguins. There is no telephone country code or area code, no telephone connection (except through satellite), no postal code nor postal distribution, no mobile phone communication and no connection to Facebook.

Islands of Refreshment was the name given to the Tristan da Cunha archipelago by its selfproclaimed ruler Jonathan Lambert, in 1811. At this time American whalers frequented the neighboring waters and, on December 27, 1810, the Boston ship Baltic put ashore an American named Jonathan Lambert ”late of Salem, mariner and citizen thereof” along with one Thomas Currie or Tomasso Corri in his employ, and a man named Williams. These three were the first permanent inhabitants of Tristan, and they were soon joined by one Andrew Millet.

Kaffeklubben Island

Due to mutiny by the other two citizens of the island, after a coup d’état, Lambert declared himself sovereign and sole possessor of the island group ”grounding my right and claim on the rational and sure ground of absolute occupancy.” He renamed the main island ”Island of Refreshment” after unsuccessfully trying to convince his marketing team of other names such as “Inaccessible Island,” ”Pintard Island,” “Nightingale Island,” and ”Lovel Island.” Lambert’s sovereignty was short lived, as he, Williams, and Millet were drowned while out fishing on May 17, 1812. Currie was joined, later, by two other men and they busied themselves in growing vegetables, wheat and oats, and in breeding pigs.

ARCTIC OCEAN, 83.666701, -29.833344

The island is the northernmost point on land on this planet. It was thus named by its first visitor in 1921 by Danish explorer Lauge Koch after the coffee club in Copenhagen’s museum of mineralogy. The island is so small it looks like a small coffee stain on the world map. Pictured: Member of the coffee club with ceremonial dress and small dead animal around his neck waiting for a refill. The creature was frequently used to clean up coffee spills aboard the rough seas around Coffee Club Island and became trendy in chic coffee bars in Södermalm, Stockholm in the fall of 2012.



Wallis and Futuna 13.3000° S, 176.2000° W

Ethnic cleasing by ingestion. “Sorry for eating those four British missionaries”, say cannibals. Wallis and Futuna are a group of islands 2/3 between Hawaii and New Zealand in the South Pacific. Its territory includes the island of Wallis (the most populous), the island of Futuna, the uninhabited island of Alofi (the population of Alofi was reportedly eaten by the cannibal people of Futuna in one single raid in the 19th century), and 20 uninhabited islets, totalling 274 km2 with 129 km of coastline. The highest point in the territory is Mont Puke (on the island of Futuna) at 524 m. The territory’s economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of the labor force earning its livelihood from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), fishing and exquisite human cuisine.

Micronations Micronations — sometimes also referred to as model countries and new country projects — are entities that claim to be independent nations or states but which are not recognized by world governments or major international organizations. These nations often exist only on paper, in the minds of their creators, or on the Internet. Micronations differ from secession and self-determination movements in that they are largely viewed as being eccentric and ephemeral in nature, often created and maintained by a single person or family group. This criterion excludes entities such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) that have diplomatic relations with other recognized nation-states of the world without being formally recognized themselves by many nation-states or accepted by major international bodies. Some micro-nationalists call their countries Nomadic Countries, especially ones that have no land and are based on the Internet. Micronations are also distinguished from imaginary countries and from other kinds of social groups (such as eco- villages, campuses, tribes, clans, sects, and residential community associations) by expressing a formal and persistent, even if unrecognized, claim of sovereignty over some physical territory.


The most common type of micro-nation is also be known as ”political simulationism” or simply ”simulationism”. They generally exist ”for fun”, have relatively few participants, are ephemeral, Internet-based, and many do not survive more than a few months. They are usually concerned solely with arrogating to their founders the outward symbols of statehood. The use of grand-sounding titles, awards, honours, and heraldic symbols derived from European feudal traditions, the conduct of ”wars” and ”diplomacy” with other micronations are common manifestations of their activities. Examples: The Aerican Empire, a Monty Pythonesque micronation founded in 1987 and known for its tongue-in-cheek interplanetary land claims, smiley-faced flag and a range of national holidays that includes ”Topin Wagglegammon” amongst others. Republic of Molossia, a desert-based micronation of 2.5ha located near Reno, Nevada ruled by President Kevin Baugh. The Kingdom of Lovely is an attempt by King Danny I (Danny Wallace) to create an Internet nation based in his flat in London.

Island Biogeography The theory of island biogeography proposes that the number of species found on an undisturbed island is determined by: immigration, emigration and extinction. And further, that the isolated populations may follow different evolutionary routes, as shown by Darwin’s observation of finches in the Galapagos Islands, and demonstrated by the latest news of the island of Lampedusa, Italy. Immigration and emigration are affected by the distance of an island from a source of colonists, also known as the distance effect. Usually this source is the mainland, but it can also be other islands. Islands that are more isolated are less likely to receive immigrants than islands that are less isolated. The rate of extinction once a species manages to colonize an island is affected by island size. Larger islands contain larger habitat areas and opportunities for more different varieties of habitat. Larger habitat size reduces the probability of extinction due to chance events. Habitat heterogeneity increases the number of species that will be successful after immigration. Over time, the countervailing forces of extinction and immigration result in an equilibrium level of species richness. This is also known as Darwin’s theory of evolution and species differentiation.


Meropis 1) 36°25’12”N 25°25’54”E 2) 36.42°N 25.43167°E 3) 36.42; 25.43167

A gigantic island created purely as a parody of Plato’s Atlantis described in Timaeus. The story of Meropis is neither a utopia nor a political allegory; it is a parody of Plato’s Atlantis, in a similar vein to the True History which parodied Homer’s Odyssey. Theopompos somewhat overstates many of Plato’s aspects of the Atlantis myth. While it is an Egyptian priest who is telling Solon the story of Atlantis according to Plato’s Timaeus, it is an Ipotane (a mythical half-man half-horse creature) who is telling the Meropis story to king Midas according to Theopompus’ Philippica. Although Atlantis was incredibly big by Plato’s account, Theopompus describes Meropis as even bigger, to make it completely absurd. And while the invading Atlanteans were beaten by Athens because of its perfect society, the Méropes - attacking with an army of ten million soldiers attempt to conquer Hyperborea, but return in disgrace after realizing that the Hyperboreans were the luckiest people on earth and not worth looting. “For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host,

which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ’the pillars of Heracles,’ there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.” Atland The Swedish scholar Olaus Rudbeck published Atland in several volumes, starting in 1679. This attempted to prove that Sweden was Atlantis, the cradle of civilization, and Swedish the original language of Adam from which Latin and Hebrew had evolved.


REM Island 52°20’N 4°20’E / 52.333°N 4.333°E

REM (Reclame Exploitatie Maatschappi) Island was a platform built in the Republic of Ireland and towed off the Dutch coast in 1964 as the pirate broadcasting home of Radio and TV Noordzee. Both stations were dismantled by armed forces of the Netherlands. Its last location was six miles off Noordwijk. Radio and TV Noordzee was founded in 1963

Dutch authorities were unhappy but they could not prevent the broadcasts. On December 12, 1964, the government passed the REM law, which split the North Sea into continental sections. The sea bed under REM Island, to which the structure was attached, was declared Dutch territory. Five days later, the Royal Marines boarded the platform and ended broadcasting.

with land-based offices and broadcast from the sea. The artificial island was built in the harbor of Cork, Ireland. It was towed to its location and anchored in cement on the seabed. On August 12, 1964 a test broadcast was performed and on August 15 regular broadcasting started. The radio service broadcast on 1400 kHz, while on television it used Channel E11. The company intended to broadcast commercial radio and TV. Dutch law at the time did not authorize such broadcasts but the island was outside territorial waters. Other stations, such as Radio Veronica, used a ship.

A year after the raid, Radio Noordzee resumed transmissions legally under the name TROS. After that REM Island was used by the government to measure sea temperature and salt concentration. After a failed attempt to sell the island in 2004, the government dismantled it with a goodbye radio event by radioamateurs, with the callsign PB6REM on the platform on June 8, 2006. The famed REM island — a platform used in 1964 to broadcast commercial pirate radio and TV programs to the Netherlands — will be towed to Amsterdam where it will be outfitted as a restaurant in the harbour.



Our Lady of the Rocks Our Lady of the Rocks (Montenegrin, Croatian, Serbian: Gospa od Škrpjela) is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro (the other being Sveti Đorđe Island). It is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rocks (Italian: Chiesa della Madonna dello Scarpello) is the only building on the islet. According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by the seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fašinada, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place. Legend has it that Perastan fishermen on the rock on which the island is done today, found the icon of the Virgin and Christ (now located at the main altar) and decided to name the dumping of rocks and shipwrecks on the island and build his church. Since then applies an unwritten covenant Perast seafarers to ”vijada” before each ’’new’’ flood stones around the island as a contribution to the firmness of their patron base

Spiral Island II

temple. Probably for this reason has emerged and Fašinada. This traditional event is named after the Italian word ’’fascia’’ which means a tape or a bandage, so called because a convoy of boats, marches holding Jablanov branches and filled with stones, interconnected. The boats are just a pastor and men, the heirs of famous sailors and prominent people of Perast, while women greet the coast. Each year during sunset on July 22nd, boats row towards the island with the song Bugarstice to fulfill the legacy of their ancestors and throw stones around the island. The island was made in the late 15th century when he formed the original church, which is expanding in line with the changing dimensions of the island.

innundate its land and displace its local population and, turning it into a fictional island under the surface of a once lived reality.

21.2304° N, 86.7372° W

Island built with PET bottles by Rick Rishi, now beached in Mexico. It is now a tourist destination for those with nothing better to do. Rishi built a floating island before, Spiral Island I - his first effort was unfortunately destroyed by hurricane Emily in 2005. The good news is that he was not discouraged and pushed on the build a new one - Spiral Island II. Located in the waters of Isla Meieres in Mexico. Just like the first island Rishi filled nets with empty discarded plastic bottles to support a structure of plywood and bamboo, on which he poured sand and planted numerous plants, including mangroves. The new island is about 20 meters (66 ft) in diameter and is set on ‘only’ 100,000 plastic bottles. The new island has beaches, a house, two ponds, a solar-powered waterfall and river, and solar panels - quite luxurious I’m sure you will agree. He was helped by volunteers for his project and is still continuing to make improvements to the island. Island Under Water The island of Tuvalu, isolated in the immense Polynesian archipelago, is one of the most remote populated islands in the world. Afflicted by climate change, the island-nation is doomed to disappear due to rising water levels, which will


The Republic of Minerva 23°38’S 178°54’W

The Republic of Minerva was one of the few modern attempts at creating a sovereign micronation on the reclaimed land of an artificial island in 1972. The architect was Las Vegas real estate millionaire and political activist Michael Oliver, who went on to other similar attempts in the following decade. Lithuanian-born Oliver formed a syndicate, the Ocean Life Research Foundation, which allegedly had some $100,000,000 for the project and had offices in New York and London. They anticipated a libertarian society with ”no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism.” In addition to tourism and fishing, the economy of the new nation would include light industry and other commerce. According to Glen Raphael, ”The chief reason that the Minerva project failed was that the libertarians who were involved did not want to fight for their territory.” According to Reason, Minerva has been ”more or less reclaimed by the sea.” A Tongan expedition was sent to enforce the claim. The Republic of Minerva flag was lowered. Tonga’s claim was recognized by the South Pacific Forum in September 1972. Meanwhile, Provisional President Davis was fired by founder Michael Oliver and the project collapsed in confusion. Nevertheless, Minerva was referred to in O. T. Nelson’s post-apocalyptic children’s novel The

Girl Who Owned a City, published in 1975, as an example of an invented utopia that the book’s protagonists could try to emulate. In 1982, a group of Americans led again by Morris C. “Bud” Davis tried to occupy the reefs, but were forced off by Tongan troops after three weeks. In recent years several groups have allegedly sought to re-establish Minerva. No claimant group has to date made any attempt to take possession of the territory. They have, as of yet, not adopted the Euro as their currency.

freedom of expression through the symbolism of his standard: Three roses, its own language: Esperanto, language, and then no one language for all, a national anthem, a post office cancellation stamp with a president with a council of ministers cinue and departments and, if anything, we were also able to issue its own currency ”mills” (...) it was his dream (...) waiting was content to print stamps with the name and image of his new kingdom. The island off the NACU Acue but in the territorial jurisdiction of the Kingdom of the mainland, (rising to 12 km from the coast with geographic coordinates, latitude 44 ° 10 ’48 ”east longitude and 12 ° 36’ 00”) King Rosa began to drill the seabed to see if he could lay the foundations of his reign, 9 stilts the height of 36 m embedded in the seabed in 12 meters, 12 meters and 12 meters in acua the surface of the deep sea and the King Neptune gave permission ... the foundations are firmly stuck, laid the foundation decided to put a platform to make sure that his subjects could live there permanently and even HIS stood still ... the

kingdom was coming ... shortly thereafter were built and even the locals began to get requests not only from the neighbor across the kingdom on the mainland but also from other foreign countries ... to the King and Rosa did not seem real ... in fact it was ... but still did not know it ... and with his subjects continued to dream.” Rosa’s actions were viewed by the Italian government as a ploy to raise money from tourists while avoiding national taxation. Whether or not this was the real reason behind Rosa’s micronation, the Italian government’s response was swift and heavy-handed: a group of four carabinieri and tax inspectors landed on the ”Isola delle Rose” and assumed control. The platform’s Council of Government is said to have sent a telegram, presumably to the Italian government, to protest the ”violation of its sovereignty and the injury inflicted on local tourism by the military occupation,” but this was ignored.The Italian police ordered the implosion of the Republic of Roses and Giorgio was never seen since.

Respubliko de la Insulo de la Rozoj 44.1800° N, 12.6167° E

The Republic of Rose Island (Esperanto: Respubliko de la Insulo de la Rozoj) was a short-lived mi-

Native Falkland islanders, predominantly of Welsh and Scottish ancestry

cronation on a man-made platform in the Adriatic Sea, 11 km (7 mi) off the coast of Rimini, Italy. In 1967, Italian engineer Giorgio Rosa funded the construction of a 400 square metre platform supported by nine pylons, and furnished it with a number of commercial establishments, including a restaurant, bar, nightclub, souvenir shop and a post office. Some reports also mention the presence of a radio station, but this remains unconfirmed. Once Upon a Time, a king without a kingdom, the King Rosa (...) he was a king who sought sovereignty and without imposing anything on anyone, but only and exclusively for self-determination and to live in a free territory whose laws were not to be dictated by any constitution, if not from their



Phantom islands Phantom islands usually stem from the reports of early sailors exploring new realms. Some arose through the mislocation of actual islands, or other errors in geography. For instance, Pepys Island was actually a misidentification of the Falkland Islands. The Baja California peninsula appears on some early maps as an island but was later discovered to be attached to the mainland of North America. Thule was perhaps actually discovered in the 4th century BC but was lost, and then later reidentified by ancient explorers and geographers as Shetland, Iceland, Scandinavia, or even as nonexistent. Other phantom islands are probably due to navigational errors, the misidentification of icebergs, fog banks, or to optical illusions such as the natural phenomenon Fata Morgana. New South Greenland, observed in the Weddell Sea in 1823 but never again seen, may have been the result

of a superior mirage, though other explanations, including icebergs, misnavigation and even fabrication have been suggested. These sightings were most likely the result of delirium due to starvation or drunkenness onboard. The Seasteading Institute The Seasteading Institute, founded by Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman on April 15, 2008, is an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters. Gramlich’s 1998 article SeaSteading – Homesteading on the High Seas outlined the notion of affordable steading, and attracted the attention of Friedman with his proposal for a small-scale project. The two began working together and posted their first collaborative “book” online in 2001, which explored aspects of seasteading from waste disposal to flags of convenience.

Director Byron Haskin in the legacy of Daniel Defoe

Prototype design courtesey of the Seasteading Institute

The project picked up mainstream exposure in 2008 after having been brought to the attention of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who invested $500,000 in the institute and has since spoken out on behalf of its viability, most recently in his essay The Education of a Libertarian. TSI has received widespread and diverse media attention, from sources such as CNN, Wired Magazine, and Prospect Magazine. American journalist and commentator John Stossel wrote an article about seasteading and the Seasteading Institute in February of 2011 invited Patri Friedman onto his show on the Fox Business Network. Desert Island A deserted island or uninhabited island is an island that has yet to be (or is not currently) populated by humans. Uninhabited islands are often used in movies or stories about shipwrecked people, and are also used as stereotypes for the idea of ”paradise.” Some uninhabited islands are protected as nature reserves and some are privately owned. The largest uninhabited island in the world is Devon Island in Canada. The first known novels to be set on a desert island were Philosophus Autodidactus, written by Ibn Tufail (1105–1185), followed by Theologus


Autodidactus written by Ibn al-Nafis (1213–1288). The protagonists in both (Hayy in Philosophus Autodidactus and Kamil in Theologus Autodidactus) are feral children living in seclusion on a deserted island, until they eventually come in contact with castaways from the outside world who are stranded on the island. The story of Theologus Autodidactus, however, extends beyond the deserted island setting when the castaways take Kamil back to civilization with them. William Shakespeare’s 1610-11 play The Tempest uses the idea of being stranded on a desert island as a pretext for the action of the play. Prospero and his daughter Miranda are set adrift by Prospero’s treacherous brother Antonio, seeking to become Duke of Milan, and Prospero in turn shipwrecks his brother and other men of sin onto the island. A Latin translation of Ibn Tufail’s Philosophus Autodidactus appeared in 1671, prepared by Edward Pococke the Younger, followed by an English translation by Simon Ockley in 1708, as well as German and Dutch translations. In the late 17th century, Philosophus Autodidactus inspired Robert Boyle, an acquaintance of Pococke, to write his own philosophical novel set on a deserted island, The Aspiring Naturalist.


Ibn al-Nafis’ Theologus Autodidactus was also eventually translated into English in the early 20th century. The quintessential deserted island novel, however, was Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. It is likely that Defoe took inspiration for Crusoe from a Scottish sailor named Alexander Selkirk, who was rescued in 1709 after four years on the uninhabited Juan Fernández Islands; Defoe usually made use of current events for his plots. It is also likely that he was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail’s Philosophus Autodidactus. Tom Neale was a New Zealander who voluntarily spent 16 years in three sessions in the 1950s and 1960s living alone on the island of Suwarrow in the northern Cook Islands group. His time there is documented in his autobiography, An Island To Oneself. Significant novels set on deserted islands include The Swiss Family Robinson, The Coral Island, The Mysterious Island, Lord of the Flies, The Cay and The Beach. The theme of being stranded on a desert island has inspired films, such as Cast Away, and TV series, like LOST and the comedy Gilligan’s Island. It is also the driving force behind reality shows like Survivor and the Discovery Kids show Flight 29 Down.

In the popular conception, such islands are often located in the Pacific, tropical, uninhabited and usually uncharted. They are remote locales that offer escape and force people marooned or stranded as castaways to become self-sufficient and essentially create a new society. This society can either be utopian, based on an ingenious re-creation of society’s comforts (as in Swiss Family Robinson and, in a humorous form, Gilligan’s Island) or a regression into savagery (the major theme of both Lord of the Flies and The Beach). In reality, small coral atolls or islands usually have no source of fresh water (thus precluding any long-term human survival), but at times a fresh water lens (GhybenHerzberg lens) can be reached with a well. The BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs asks well- known people what items they would take with them to a deserted island. The program has inspired many similar articles, contests, and projects, including ”desert island books”, ”desert island movies”, and so on. A message in a bottle is a form of communication often associated with people stranded on a deserted island attempting to be rescued. In rare and exceptional cases, people have been known to have long philosophical dialogues with common volley balls.

Tetiaroa, paradise island of the Brandos


Lawrence Durrell

Desert islands also figure largely in sexual fantasies, with the top ”dream vacation” for heterosexual men surveyed by Psychology Today being ”marooned on a tropical island with several members of the opposite sex.” A man on a deserted island is also a hugely popular image for gag cartoons, the island being conventionally depicted as just a few yards across with a single palm tree. Durrell’s Ailment Islomania is a craze for or a strong attraction to islands. The condition was first identified by British writer Lawrence Durrell in his book Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953): ”Somewhere among the notebooks of Gideon I once found a list of diseases as yet unclassified by medical science, and among these there occurred the word islomania, which was described as a rare but by no means unknown affliction of spirit. These are people, Gideon used to say, by way of explanation, who find islands somehow irresistible. We islomanes, says Gideon, are the direct descendants of the Atlanteans, and it is toward the lost Atlantis that our subconscious is drawn. This means that we find islands irresistible”. Islomaniacs (or islomanes) are those who suffer from islomania, the irresistible attraction to islands first described by Lawrence Durrell in his travel book Prospero’s Cell, set in the Ionian island of

Corfu. While islomania is most frequently associated with writers, this is probably simply because they are the most likely to describe and analyse their condition. The Second World War was far more disruptive of islomania than its predecessor. Lawrence Durrell’s experience was typical: he had been living in peace in Corfu until the war drove him into exile in Alexandria; there, recollecting times lost, he wrote Prospero’s Cell, the book which defined the term. Durrell’s islomania was of the restless sort: he subsequently lived on and wrote of Rhodes (Reflections on a Marine Venus) and Cyprus (Bitter Lemons). The post-war period saw a host of islomaniac authors who, perhaps having experienced the horrors of war, saw islands as places to escape to. Tropical islands seem especially friendly to artists and writers: Ernest Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and other masterpieces at his homes in Cuba and Key West, while Paul Bowles forsook Tangier for a time to purchase a tiny off-shore islet off a beach south of Colombo, which he named Taprobane - previously owned by a bogus French aristocrat, it is now an expensive boutique hotel. Miguel Covarrubias painted bare-breasted maidens on Bali in the thirties, and the island continues to lure seekers of sophisticated simplicity →


Boring Writer stranded on island In the 2009 BBC Radio 4 comedy sketch series Bigipedia one sketch covered the history of ”The Desert Island Bore”, a woman who has written more messages in bottles than anyone in history, but has never been rescued from the desert island because all the letters are boring.

Not that all islomanes dream of tropical paradises: Gavin Maxwell retreated to Eilean Bàn, 6 acres (24,000 m2) of windswept rock and heath off the Isle of Skye, to write of otters, and also the Isle of Soay, where he engaged in shark fisheries, while George Orwell wrote much of Nineteen Eighty-Four while living in a barn on the island of Jura. While most islomanes simply live on islands, some collect them: Durrell noted that fellow-poet Kimon Friar claimed to have lived on 46 different islands, and Philip Conkling, director of Maine’s Island Institute, has visited more than 1,000 islands in that state alone. In early 2005, actor/director Mel Gibson purchased Mago Island in Fiji for $15 million, over the protests of the descendants of Mago’s original native inhabitants. Tetiaroa, one of the Society Islands, was purchased in 1965 by actor Marlon Brando, who saw and fell in love with it while filming Mutiny on the Bounty. Tetiaroa has one inhabitant: Brando’s son Teihotu.

An island to one’s self New Zealander Tom Neale, inspired by the stories of Nordhoff and Hall and Robert Dean Frisbie, escaped to Suwarrow Atoll in the Cook Islands, where he lived alone for 16 years. When this fact became known, many boats and ships en route to other destinations stopped by to see the “desert island man”. Neale complained that these unwanted visitors disturbed his peace and created hideaways in the island so that he would never be seen. Mysterious Island Mysterious Island, or Tainstvennyy ostrov in Russian, is a USSR film adaptation of the 1874 novel by Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island (L’Île mystérieuse).

Utopia Sir Thomas Moore (pictured) first published Utopia in the original edition of On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia (1516). This book was Moore’s critique of the existing political system in England during the Renaissance. Utopia is a fictional creation told by the character Raphael Hythlodaeus (as in the archangel Raphael, and the last name means ‘carrier of nonsense’) of a ‘perfect’ political system where divorce, women’s rights, euthanasia and religious tolerance would be part of the functioning of the state. It is much debated whether the whole work was ironic or if it was a blueprint of a state to come. A Spanish conquistador, Vasco de Quiroga, used features of Utopia in the early colonial settlement in of Mixoacán in Mexico.

The Island of Tomorrow 09 May 11 06:13 GMT: The South Pacific island nation of Samoa is to jump forward in time by one day in order to boost its economy. Samoa will do this by switching to the west side of the international date line, which it says will make it easier to do business with Australia and New Zealand. At present, Samoa is 21 hours behind Sydney. From 29 December it will be three hours ahead. The change comes 119 years after Samoa moved in the opposite direction. Then, it transferred to the east side of the international date line in an effort to aid trade with the US and Europe. However, Australia and New Zealand have increasingly become Samoa’s biggest trading partners. Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said: ”In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we’re losing out on two working days a week. While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New

Frislandia Apparently there used to be an island called Frislandia on the Atlantic Ocean right below Iceland. Unfortunately, it got lost on its way to America and eventually sank, living deep in the imaginary of obscure 17th century cartographers.



Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane”. Gunnils Öra At the edge of the outer Stockholm archipelago, where the Baltic begins to meet the inner seas, there is an island called Gunnils Öra, or Gunnil’s ear. In Swedish, there are many words for islands, words that accurately describe their shape, location and behavior. Gunnils Öra is an island that has been sighted many times, but no one is known to ever have reached it. Therefore, scientists still don’t know whether it is populated, what kind of vegetation covers it or the shape of its rocks. Old fisherman tales recount the vision of an island that pierces through the surface of the sea only once at a given time of day, at a given time of year. For the rest of the time the island recedes underwater, tricking those who sail nearby. No mapmaker can give a precise location to the island, no rendering of its likeness, and no explanation why it is called Gunnil’s Ear. In 1690, one mapmaker living in Gillöga Lillskär, Carl Gripenhjelm, claims to have seen Gunnils Öra through the early morning fog. He called onto one of the

men working his land to confirm his sighting, but the man saw nothing but the straight line of the horizon. Unsure of where to place it on the map of the archipelago, he decided to paint it as a faint watercolor stain on paper. Until today, this stain on this map causes a certain disbelief. Could it be the trace of a sea creature that migrates home every year to the same spot? Could it be a mirage that according to modern meteorologues is too complex to be perceived from large distances? A photographer now lives in the little hut where Gripenhjelm painted phantom islands on maps. His camera is pointed towards the horizon in hopes of grasping the stain through the morning fog. Hy Brazil The lost and now mythical island of Hy-Brazil, off the west coast of Ireland, is thought to be the home of the Tuatha DeDanann, who it is claimed first landed in a cloud (the island itself is said to be surrounded by a permanent fog) on Sliabh an Iarainn in Co. Leitrim before they spread to the rest of the country. Interestingly on some maps of the island the line going from the channel of water which crosses its circle shape would cross this Leitrim mountain. The island could have been their


Abraham Ortelius Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip (1570) locating ’Brasil’

homeland or a base they created after either the collapse of Atlantis/Lemuria or wherever it was they came from. Amongst other things it is thought to have been the location of the mythical land of eternal youth. It was shown on maps between 1325 and 1865, was visited separately by Irish monks Saint Barrind and Staint Brendan amongst many others and was last seen in 1872 by the author T.J. Westropp. One idea about why we can no longer see it or other such mythical things is that as science advanced and we became more sophisticated (left brain orientated), we stopped believing in them and became blind to that reality. If the island was there for others to see then it must still be there for us to see but only if we are are truly open to the possibility of its existence and ready to adapt our world view accordingly. Perhaps only then could an individual again hope to view Hy Brazil. If so, what else might become visible? (Contribution by Stephen Rennicks).


An Index



of Fictional Islands


THE ABARAT: 25 islands in an archipela-

from in the disney channel original

go, one for each hour and one for all

series cory in the house.

the hours, from the series the books of

BALFE: the island setting on the 1972

abarat by clive barker.

movie doomwatch.

ABSOLOM: a prison island in the movie

BALI HA’I: the mysterious island in the

escape from absolom.

musical south pacific, based on the

AEPYORNIS ISLAND: an atoll near mada-

1947 book tales of the south pacific.

gascar, in h. g. wells’ story by that

BALAMB ISLAND: from video game final

same name.

fantasy viii.

AL AMARJA: mediterranean island state

BATTLE FRONTIER: from video game

in the over the edge roleplaying game.

pokemon emerald.

ALABASTA: an island controlled by

BENNE SEED ISLAND: an island off the

crocodile in the onepiece manga series

coast of south carolina near charles-

by eiichiro oda.

ton, where polly o’keefe and her family

ALCA/PENGUIN ISLAND: an island off the

live in several novels by madeleine

northern shore of europe, where pengu-


ins were transformed into humans (in

BENSALEM: from the new atlantis by

fact, a satirical analogue of france)

painter francis bacon.

in the 1908 novel l’île des pingouins

BESAID & BIKANEL: from final fantasy x

by anatole france.

and final fantasy x-2.

ALTRURIA: from the novel a traveler


from altruria by william dean howells.

ISLAND): from the wuxia novel the

AMITY ISLAND: from the book and subse-

heavenly sword and the dragon saber by

quent film jaws.

jin yong.

ANGEL ISLAND: a major location in the

BLACKHAWK ISLAND: secret base of the

sonic the hedgehog series of video

blackhawks during world war ii and

games published by sega.


ANGEL ISLAND: an island in the pacific


ocean in inez haynes gillmore’s novel

san nicolas island. from the book by

of the same name.

scott o’dell.

APE ISLAND: from the simpsons.

BLEFUSCU: from the novel gulliver’s

ATLANTIS: from the dialogues timaeus

travels by jonathan swift.

and critias by plato.

BOOTY ISLAND: a pirate island in the

ATOLL K: from comedy duo laurel and

caribbean in the game monkey island 2:

hardy’s last movie.

lechuck’s revenge, part of the tri-is-

AVALON: from arthurian legend.

land area (governed by elaine marley).

AZKABAN: island prison in the harry

BRITANNULA: setting of the novel the

potter book series.

fixed period by anthony trollope.

BACK CUP: a fictional island in the

C ISLAND: from the nintendo game

bahamas, hideout of the pirate ker


karraje in jules verne’s novel facing

CACTUAR ISLAND: from final fantasy vii

the flag.

and final fantasy viii.

BAHAVIA: a parody of bavaria where the

CANDY APPLE ISLAND: from the simpsons.

paroom family, e.g. meena paroom, come

CANDIED ISLAND: from the marvelous


misadventures of flapjack.

heavily influenced by tahiti, in the

FINNIGAN ISLAND: the island where john

dragon tattoo book by stieg larsson,

CARLOTTA: small island off the coast

patrouille des castors comics.

patterson and one of his friends washed

where harriet vanger disappeared.

of peru in the movie the bribe, reused

CRUSOELAND: another name for laurel and

up on during a big storm in the 1999

HILI-LI ISLAND: an inhabited island

to comic effect in dead men don’t wear

hardy’s ATOLL K.

cartoon of for better or for worse.

near the south pole in the novel a

FLYSPECK ISLAND: from curtis.

strange discovery by charles romeyn

plaid. CASPIAR: fictional island nation home

DARGENK ISLAND: the island holding the

FORSAKEN FORTRESS: an island in the

dake. it is south of tsalal.

of andy kaufman’s character latka from

falok empire’s base.

nintendo gamecube game, the legend of

HI-YI-YI: where rhinogrades once lived.

taxi. it sank.

DAZHI ISLAND: from the novel the return

zelda: the wind waker.

HIPPO ISLAND: island in the south

CASCARA: main setting of the 1985 film

of the condor heroes by jin yong/louis



GAEA: an island off the coast of portu-

punch out!! series of video games is

CASTAWAY ISLAND: where the castaways

DEIST: From final fantasy ii.

gal in the novel the arm of the star-


live in pirate islands.

DESTINY ISLANDS: from the video game

fish by madeleine l’engle, named for

HOENN: location of video games pokémon

CHAUSIBLE ISLAND: from the novel the

kingdom hearts.

the greek ”earth mother” goddess.

ruby and sapphire.

new paul and virginia.

DEVON ISLAND: from james a. michener’s

GAEA’S NAVEL: an island in the video

HORAI ISLAND: a chinese-owned artifi-

CINNABAR ISLAND: the site of the

novel chesapeake.

game chrono cross.

cial island used to generate hydro-

seventh gym in the nintendo gameboy

DINOBOT ISLAND: from the transformers

GALUGA ISLAND: setting of the video

electric power in the anime series code

game, pokemon red and blue.


games contra and contra iv.

geass: lelouch of the rebellion, which

CLANBRONWYN: a small island off the

DINOSAUR ISLAND: the island where the

GANAE: a caribbean island in the novel

later becomes the home base of the

coast of anglesey in the adventure game

dinosaurs live (dc comics).

no other life by brian moore.

black knights.

trilby’s notes.

DINOTOPIA: a fictional utopia created

GENOSHA: from marvel comics.

HUELLA ISLANDS: footprint-shap-

CORAL ISLAND: from the boy’s book by r.

by author and illustrator james gurney.

GENGORO ISLAND: from dr. slump.

ed islands off the coast of cayenne,

m. ballantyne.

DOLPHIN ISLAND: (off australia) in the

GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: eponymous tv-series.

mentioned in the hardy boys books. they

CORTO MALTESE: from batman: the dark

novel by arthur c. clarke.

GRAND NIXON ISLAND: from marvel comics.

are ruled by a dictator, juan posada

knight returns comics.

DRAGON ROOST ISLAND: from the nintendo

GRAVETT ISLAND: the destination of

and their ”spy chief” is named bedoya.

COSTA ESTRALITA: from the film princess

gamecube game the legend of zelda: the

escape pods from the uss enterprise-e

the adjective is huellan.

protection program.

wind waker.

starship in the movie star trek: first

HYDRA ISLAND: the second smaller island

COSTA LUNA: from the film princess



off the coast of the main one in lost.

protection program.

the children’s novel missee lee by


CRAB ISLAND: poor caribbean island

arthur ransome.

in the hebrides, companion of LITTLE

ITCHY ISLAND: from the american tv

shaped like a crab, under the domi-

DRUM KINGDOM: island in the onepiece

TODDAY in the novel whisky galore by

cartoon camp lazlo.

nation of CROCODILE ISLAND, in the

manga series where chopper joins the

compton mackenzie.

L’ÎLE AUX ENFANTS: from the french tv

patrouille des castors comics.


GREATFISH ISLE: an island in the

show l’île aux enfants.

nintendo gamecube game, the legend of

INDIAN ISLAND: from agathe christie’s

CRAB ISLAND: an island in the caribbean

pacific, of which king hippo of the

sea, from the children’s novel peter

EASTER ISLAND: from the hitchhiker’s

zelda: the wind waker.

novel and then there were none.

duck by arthur ransome.

guide to the galaxy (the fact that

GULLAH GULLAH ISLAND: in the tv series


CRAB KEY: dr. no’s hideout in the first

it shares a name with earth’s EASTER

of the same name.

CLOSEST TO HELL: from the square enix

james bond movie.

ISLAND is a meaningless coincidence).

CRAGGY ISLAND (off the coast of

EGRET ISLAND: from the novel the

HALEAKALOA: island in french polynesia


ireland): setting of channel 4 sitcom

mermaid chair.

in the movie donovan’s reef.

g. wells.

father ted.


HARPER’S ISLAND: setting of the cbs

THE ISLAND OF TIME: from video game

CRESCENT ISLAND: crescent-shaped island

game chrono cross.

horror/mystery series harper’s island.

prince of persia: warrior within.

in the video game final fantasy iv.

EUREKA: from the movie eureka.

HAUNTED ISLE: setting of the scoo-

ISLA CRUCES: island where davy jones’

CROCODILE ISLAND: caribbean island


by-doo, where are you! episode ”hassle

heart was kept in pirates of the carib-

shaped like a crocodile, with a dicta-

family guy episode ”tales of a third

in the castle”.

bean: dead man’s chest.

torial government which seems to be

grade nothing”.

HEDEBY: island in the girl with the

ISLA DE MUERTA: the island where


video game final fantasy viii.


captain barbossa and his crew hid

KANTO: from the pokémon franchise.

LINGSHE ISLAND: in the novel the


their gold at in pirates of the carib-

KARAMJA: from the online video game

heavenly sword and the dragon saber by

the main islands forming THE KINGDOM OF

bean: the curse of the black pearl,




ISLA LOS ORGANOS: the location of the

KEELHAUL KEY: from the nintendo video


NAVARONE: fictional greek island in the

gene therapy clinic in die another day,

game paper mario: the thousand-year

in the hebrides, companion of GREAT

guns of navarone (novel) and the film

where bond finds zao.


TODDAY in the novel whisky galore by

based on it.


KILIKA: from final fantasy x and final

compton mackenzie.

NEPENTHE: in the 1917 novel south wind,

judas priest song from their album sad

fantasy x-2.

LUCRE ISLAND: a pirate island in the

located off the coast of italy in the

wings of destiny.

KINAKUTA: island state in southeast

game escape from monkey island.

tyrrhenian sea - in fact a thinly

THE ISLAND: setting of the tv series

asia of neal stephenson’s novel crypto-

LUTARI ISLAND: an island in neopia.

fictionalized CAPRI.


nomicon. compare QUEENA-KOOTAH in neal


stephenson’s novel the confusion.

MAKO ISLAND: a pacific island off

ocean girl.

william kennedy’s novel dark africa,

KIRRIN ISLAND: in the famous five

australia in h2o just add water.

NEVERLAND: an island that apparently

where bio-tech’s experiments took

children’s books by enid blyton.

MALLET ISLAND: From devil may cry.

exists outside of time, as its inhabi-

place. given a spanish name by locals.

KITCHEN ISLAND: from the wario land

MAPLE ISLAND: Is an island from maple-

tants never age or die, from the peter

ISLA NUBLAR: site of ingen’s jurassic


story where beginners start and train

pan books and movies.


KOHOLINT ISLAND: from the video game

before leaving to VICTORIA ISLAND.

NEW AMERICA: An island northwest of

ISLA SORNA: site of ingen’s ”site b”

the legend of zelda: link’s awakening.

MARDI ARCHIPELAGO: From herman melvil-

greenland in the adventures of captain

(the lost world and jurassic park iii).

KOKOVOKO: from the herman melvil-

le’s mardi and a voyage thither.

hatteras by jules verne.

ISLE DELFINO: setting of super mario

le novel moby-dick (queequeq is from

MATA NUI: From bionicle.

N. SANITY ISLAND: the home of crash

sunshine video game.


MATOOL: From zombi 2.

bandicoot in the video game of the same

ISLE DE GAMBINO: an island town from

KOO KOO ISLAND: an island in the west

MÊLÉE ISLAND: A pirate island in the


the online community gaia online.

indies briefly mentioned in carry on at

caribbean in the monkey island games,

ISLE OF NABOOMBU: Kingdom of anthro-

ISLE ESME: a series of islands from

your convenience.

part of the TRI-ISLAND area (governed

pomorphic animals in the disney film

breaking dawn by stephenie meyer.

KRAWK ISLAND: an island in neopia.

by elaine marley).

bedknobs and broomsticks.

ISLE OF THE DAMNED: an island from the

NERI’S ISLAND: neri’s home in tv series

MEMBATA: the island on tv series LOST

NIGGER ISLAND: in ten little niggers by

video game chrono cross.

LAPAK: from the novel alaska by james

that the oceanic 6 claim to have

agatha christie (in later editions the


a. michener.

crashed on.

name was changed to INDIAN ISLAND or

from the veggietales episode ”esther,

LAVALAVA ISLAND: from the video game

METRU NUI: from the bionicle franchise.


the girl who became queen”.

paper mario.

MILK ISLAND: a brand of milk frothing

NOMANISAN ISLAND: Widely accepted term

IWAKO ISLAND: a fictional island used

LEA MONDE: from the squaresoft video

accessories for saeco and gaggia coffee

for the island in the incredibles.

in marketing by the iwako co.; the

game vagrant story.


NONTOONYT ISLAND: From the adventu-

mystical place of origin of their

LEAP ISLANDS: from the monikins by

MOAHU: Island in the pacific encounte-

re computer game leisure suit larry

animal shaped erasers.

james fenimore cooper.

red in patrick o’brian’s novels, the

goes looking for love (in several wrong

LEGO ISLAND: from the video games lego

wine-dark sea and the truelove.


JAMBALAYA ISLAND: an ex-pirate island

island and lego island 2: the bricks-


NOWHERE ISLAND: setting of mother 3.

in the caribbean, turned to a tourist

ter’s revenge.

godzilla series.

NÚMENOR: Home of the dúnedain before

attraction center, in the game escape

LESHP: from discworld series by terry

MUIR ISLAND: From marvel comics.

their downfall in j. r. r. tolkien’s

from monkey island.


MYPOS: greek island homeland of balki


JAVASU: an island in the indian ocean,

LIBERTY CITY: from the grand theft auto

bartokomous in perfect strangers.

the alleged country of princess


MYST: From eponymous adventure game.

OKISHIMA ISLAND: From the novel battle


LILLIPUT: from the novel gulliver’s

MYSTERY ISLAND: An island in neopia.

royale by koushun takami and the subse-

JOHTO: a region of the pokémon world.

travels by jonathan swift.

MOESKO ISLAND: Island from the ring by

quent film by kinji fukasaku.

it is located west of kanto.

LINCOLN ISLAND: from jules verne’s

gore verbinski.

OLYMPUS: An artificial island nation,

novel the mysterious island.


run by genetic modified humans and


advanced technology, in the appleseed

monkey island, part of the TRI-ISLAND

in the caribbean in the game monkey

SPIDERMONKEY ISLAND: A floating island

manga series.

area (governed by elaine marley).

island 2: lechuck’s revenge.

in hugh lofting’s the voyages of doctor

ORACLE ISLAND: A paradimensional island

POKOPONESIA: Island nation from the

SCHERIA: Island in homer’s odyssey,


that connects earth, in our universe,

animated version of the tick.

where odysseus meets nausicca and

SPOON ISLAND: Home of wyndemere castle,

to areo in the universe xejjaszuh, via

PRAWN ISLAND: From grand theft auto:


across the harbor of port charles, new

the bermuda triangle, in the turbulen-

vice city and grand theft auto: vice

SEAL ISLAND: from the disney series the

york (fictional city), fictional island

ce series.

city stories.

suite life on deck, starring zack and

on the soap opera general hospital.

ORANGE ISLANDS: An extensive island

PANAU ISLAND: From just cause 2.


STARFISH ISLAND: From grand theft auto:

SEVEN BAY ISLAND: An island off the

vice city and grand theft auto: vice

chain consisting of various active islands, pokémon anime.

QWGHLM: A pair of british islands in

coast of the northeastern united

city stories.

OTTER ISLAND: A sentient island from

the novels of neal stephenson.

states, in the austin family series of

SULA: A scottish island featuring in an

books by madeleine l’engle. setting of

eponymous series of children’s books by

oren otter’s multimedia series otter island.

RAMITA DE LA BAYA: ”twig in the bay”,

the novel a ring of endless light.

lavinia derwent.

OUTSET ISLAND: The home of link in the

a small island dividing america and

SEVII ISLANDS: A region in the fictio-

SUNDA: A former dutch colony, neight-

nintendo gamecube game the legend of

mexico in red dead redemption.

nal pokémon universe, introduced in the

boring indonesia but not part of it,

zelda: the wind waker.

R’LYEH: Home of cthulhu in h. p. love-

pokémon firered and leafgreen video

in eric ambler’s state of siege (the

OXBAY: A small colony island in pirates

craft’s fiction.


name ”sunda” has many real-life conno-

of the caribbean video game.

RITEN KYO: From the video game samurai

SHADOW MOSES ISLAND: From metal gear

tations, but is not in reality the name

shodown warrior’s rage 2.

solid video game.

of one specific island).

PALA: Island utopia in aldous huxley’s

ROCKFORT ISLAND: From the video game

SHEENA ISLAND: From the game resident

SPIDER-SKULL ISLAND: From the venture


resident evil code: veronica.

evil: survivor.


PAPUWA ISLAND: from papuwa.

ROKE ISLAND: The wizard school in the

SHIP-TRAP ISLAND: The setting of

SUMMERISLE: A fictional hebridean


earthsea trilogy, by ursula k. le guin.

richard connell’s story the most dang-

island and the setting of robin hardy’s

CIRA): amazon home in the wonder woman

ROO ISLAND: An island in neopia.

erous game.

movie the wicker man.

comic books.

ROUND ISLAND: From the video game final

SINNOH: a region of the pokémon world.

SUMMERSET ISLE: The homeland of the

PARROT ISLAND: from the suite life on

fantasy vii.

it is located north of kanto, johto,

high elves from bethesda’s softworks’

deck on disney channel.

RUGGED ISLAND: From the sitcom father

and hoenn.

the elder scrolls.

PEACOCK ISLAND: The legendary island

ted, next door to CRAGGY ISLAND.

SKIRA: An island near china and russia

STRUAY: A fictional hebridean island,

that is occupied by the people’s libe-

the setting of the katie morag series

the deranged major lebedeen wants to escape to in one of the guys by robert

SAN ANDREAS: from the grand theft auto:

ration army in the game operation flas-

of picturebooks by mairi hedderwick.

clark young.

san andreas video game.

hpoint: dragon rising.


PESCEPADA ISLAND: From the movie the

SAN ESPERITO: from the first game in

SKULL ISLAND: The island king kong is

ISLANDS: in the children’s novel secret

life aquatic with steve zissou.

the just cause series.

from, also a duck-shaped island in

water by arthur ransome.

PHATT ISLAND: An island in the carib-

SAN LORENZO: setting for much of kurt

the computergame the curse of monkey

bean in the game monkey island 2:

vonnegut’s novel cat’s cradle.


TABOR ISLAND: From jules verne’s novel

lechuck’s revenge.

SAN MONIQUE: the setting of the james

SKY ISLAND: A flying island, setting

in search of the castaways.

PHARMAUL: A large island five hundred

bond film live and let die.

for fantasy novel sky island by l.

TANETANE ISLAND: An island in the video

miles off the south west coast of


frank baum.

game mother 3.

africa in the tribe that lost its head

novel snow falling on cedars by david

ISLAND OF SODOR: Between england and

TATSUMIYA ISLAND: From fafner of the

and richer than all his tribe by nicho-


the ISLE OF MAN, the setting for the


las monsarrat.

SAN SERRIFFE: april fools’ day joke in

reverend awdry’s thomas the tank engine


PING ISLANDS: From the movie the life

the guardian newspaper.

railway network managed by the fat

islands that held zurrchu eamda’s base

aquatic with steve zissou.

SAND ISLAND: From the video game ace


that was destroyed by caleb hill in the

PLUNDER ISLAND: A pirate island in the

combat 5: the unsung war.


new era series.

caribbean in the game the curse of

SCABB ISLAND: An anarchic pirate island

net hoax.

THE ISLAND: the island that the



survivors of oceanic flight 815 crash

VANUTU: From the novel state of fear by

on in lost.

michael crichton.

THE ISLES OF SYREN: the islands on

VICE CITY: island from grand theft

which septimus, jenna, and beetle are

auto: vice city video game.

trapped on when spit fyre breaks his

villings: from the invention of morel

tail in septimus heap: syren.

by adolfo bioy casares.

TINDA LAU: an island in the south

VOLCANO ISLAND: from the replacements.

pacific, northeast of australia, featu-

an animated series.

red in the daytime soap opera days of

VOYA NUI: another fictional bionicle

our lives.


TINGLE ISLAND: home of tingle in the

VVARDENFELL: the setting for the

nintendo gamecube game the legend of

computer game the elder scrolls iii:

zelda: the wind waker.


TORTUGA ISLAND: from the movie pirates of the caribbean.

W ISLAND: from the novel w, or the

THEMYSCIRA: origin of the amazons in

memory of childhood by georges perec.

the wonder woman comics.

WAPONI WU: From the movie joe versus

TRACY ISLAND: an island in the tv

the volcano.

series thunderbirds.

WEST XYLOPHONE: From the they might be

TREASURE ISLAND: the island from the

giants song ”alphabet of nations”.

classic novel by robert louis steven-

WILD CAT ISLAND: from children’s novel

son. the map of the island in the book

swallows and amazons by arthur ransome.

is probably based on the UNST ISLAND in

WINDFALL ISLAND: From the nintendo

shetland, which stevenson visited.

gamecube game the legend of zelda: the

TSALAL: An island in the novel the

wind waker.


narrative of arthur gordon pym by edgar allan poe and its sequel an antarctic

YEW: Setting for the enchanted island

mystery by jules verne.

of yew by l. frank baum. YOSHI’S ISLAND: island of the yoshi

UFFA: Mentioned in sir arthur conan

species in nintendo video games.

doyle’s story the five orange pips. UNOVA: setting of pokémon black and

ZANDIA: baltic sea home of brother

white video games.

blood and safe harbor for supervilla-

UTOPIA: location of sir thomas more’s

ins in teen titans and other dc comics

book of same name.

titles. ZOLON: In the novarian series, an island thalassocracy ruled by a high admiral. ZOOMBINI ISLE: the origin of the zoombinis, featured in the logical journey pc puzzle game.




the project Fluxo de Arte Belém Contemporâneo. She has been a artist-in-residency at several prestigious institutions: HICA, Gasworks Artists, and University College of London in Chemistry Department; Tokyo Wonder Site in 2008; Council Highland Institute of Contemporary Art in 2010; Capacete Rio de Janeiro in 2011; International Residency Recollets Paris in 2012; and Cité des Arts 2012-13. In 2011, she was granted a prize by Centro Cultural Montehermoso for a artistic research project. Collective shows include: Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (2012), Lustwarande (2011), The Great Glen Artist Airshow (2010), 7º Bienal do Mercosul (2009), Seoul Platform (2009), Video Links at Tate Modern, London (2007). Solo exhibitions include: Darvaza at Casa Triângulo Gallery in São Paulo, Green Dyed Vulture, Highland Institute of Contemporary Art in Scotland (HICA), Charting Revolution at Centro Cultural Montehermoso in Spain, Earth’s Earth at Eleven Rivington Gallery. At the moment Camila is working on a project called Earth’s Anatomical Theater for the Third Bienal da Bahia, Brazil.

Andrea Hvistendahl (SE) (b. 1971) is a visual artist whose work is rooted in highlighting the complexities of our time and the future in multiple layers. She has an MFA from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, studied at Glasgow School of Arts, and practiced in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Toronto, Canada. Hvistendahl uses different arenas in society to communicate her art through interactive pieces, food, objects, installations and images. She examines aspects of our major contemporary issues such as globalization, environment and social injustice in projects such as: Mind on Matters (exchanges between and Greece and Sweden), Human Work (workshops involving humanitarian organizations and artists), No Waste Cooking (a food/climate action), and Your Move (a game visualizing social structures in society and used recently in a peace and development conference in Baghdad, Iraq). She collaborates and arranges workshops with environmental and peace and conflict management organizations. Hvistendahl’s work has recently been shown in Stockholm, Baghdad, Athens and Helsinki and she is active in the artist-run gallery Studio44 in Stockholm.


Cecilia Ahlqvist (SE) (b. 1986) is a Swedish artist who works with performative and conceptual art.

Camila Sposati (BR) (b. 1972) is a visual artist based in São Paulo and Paris. Her work speculatively inquires the connections between the material and anthropological, she has studied sites in Amazonia,Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Guatemala and Japan; with projects supported by The British Council, Centro Cultural Montehermoso and Marie de Paris. She holds an undergraduate degree in History and a visual arts Masters and post-graduate degree from Goldsmiths College of London (2003) and a postgraduate degree in photography at the Centro di Ricerca de la Fotografia, Pordenone, Italy (1998). Supported by an Aschenberg-UNESCO scholarship, she was a resident artist at HIAP/Cable Factory in Helsinki, Finland in 2003. One year later, she created and coordinated


She has an art degree from Linköpings universitet (2009-2012) and in pedagogy from Linnéuniversitetet (2006-2009.) She sees art as a tool for thinking. She mainly exhibits her works as unadvertised guerrilla events mainly in public spaces, but she has also participated in performance festival Eccentricity in Besançon France 2012, and Bråvallafestivalen in Sweden in 2013. She has solo exhibitions in Linköpings stadshus and Norrköpings Konstmuseum. Egill Sæbjörnsson (IS) (b. 1973) Born in Reykjavik, Iceland. Lives in Berlin. Egill’s art recipe: 1 kg animation, 5 tons objects, 86 video projectors, 1 dl pop music,1 dl experimental sound, a dash


of performance, 3 spoons of Sponge Bob square pants, 5 Mona Lisas, 2-3 art theories, 3 meters sex in geothermal whirlpool. Mix together and add your own imagination. Get a fresh haircut. Sæbjörnsson recently opened two permanent outdoor video installations, one for the Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, and the second for Kunstmuseum Ahlen, Westfalen, Germany. Exhibitions: Frankfurter Kunstverein, PS1-Moma, Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Reykjavik Art Museum, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Albert Dürer Gesellschaft, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum Für Gegenwart Berlin, i8 Gallery Reykjavik, Hopstreet Gallery Brussels, Anhava Gallery, Helsinki, Johann König Berlin and Nordenhake Stockholm. Together with Marcia Moraes, Sæbjörnsson was invited by Robert Wilson to design scenes for a special adaptation of Einstein on the Beach in 2012. WWW.EGILLS.DE

Lillevan (IR) (b. 1965) is an animation, video and media artist, best known as founding member of the visual/music group Rechenzentrum (19972008). He has performed and collaborated with many artists from a wide array of genres, from opera to installation, from minimal electronic experimentalism to dance and classical music internationally. Lillevan recontextualizes, combines and politicizes existing film images and fragments. ‘The aesthetics of the image are not to be found in its beauty, density and completeness, but in its transparencies and potentials.’ The images are a communicative medium interacting with the music. The selection of the images can either support the sound, or work against it, the aim being to achieve a dialogue. Interference and broken imagery is a central dramaturgical element in the creation and performance. Some film doesn’t need a soundtrack, the images produce the music, and propel the viewer into a psycho-visual-composition. For Lillevan a working process takes place in a Godard-like search for the relationship between images, intensities and textures.

Isabel Löfgren (BR/SE) (b. 1975) is a carioca visual artist, writer and researcher born in Sweden. Her interest is to reveal, through visual and/or literary media, the subjective side of public spaces based on their material and symbolic composition. She is also interested in revealing the spatiality of the circulation of information and means of communication in the city. Since 2003 she has participated in several group and solo exhibitions in Brazil and abroad. With the art collective Grupo DOC 2005-2009, she co-curated several exhibitions and artistic actions internationally in collaboration with artist-driven galleries and collectives. She lives in Stockholm since 2011 where she participated in the CuratorLab course at Konstfack, where she created and executed the project Satellitstaden. She is the co-curator of Ö A Möbius Trip with Per Hüttner and Vision Forum. She has an undergraduate degree in art from Smith College (USA), a MFA from EBA -PPGAV/ UFRJ (Brazil), and holds a PhD in Media and Communications from the European Graduate School’s division of Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought. WWW.ISABELLOFGREN.COM

Per Hüttner (SE) (b. 1967) is a Swedish artist who lives and works in Paris. He was trained at Konsthögskolan, Stockholm and at Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. He has shown extensively in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia, solo exhibitions include >unkown at Zendai Contemporary in Shanghai, Repetitive Time at Göteborgs konstmuseum, and I am a Curator at Chisenhale Gallery in London. Participation in group shows include The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, the Hayward Gallery in London, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, MACBA in Barcelona and he has performed at Tate Britain,Tate Modern and the Venice Biennial. A dozen monographs on the artists work have been published in the last decade. Hüttner is the founder and director of the Vision Forum, a project-based international experimental research network. WWW.PERHUTTNER.COM



Marcia Moraes (BR) (b. 1969) has an extended professional background as an actress, theater director, choreographer, and master physical theater professor. As well as her own productions, she has worked as a director and performer with opera composer Jocy de Oliveira in Brazil and Germany, and has collaborated with an extensive number of Brazilian artists like Geraldo Carneiro, Moacyr Chaves, Domingos de Oliveira, Amir Haddad, Paulo Betti, Angel Vianna, Wolf Maya amongst many others. Based between Rio, Berlin and NYC since 2007, Moraes has started a collective of artists THE WHITE RABBIT in collaboration with Egill Sæbjörnsson, working in the interface between theater and visual arts, and performing around the world. She has performed recently at The Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, NBK Berlin, Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt, Museum of Contemporary Art Odense in Denmark, Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland, Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, The Bergen Kunsthall in Norway, Instituto Svizzero di Roma in Italy, The Clock Tower gallery, The Watermill Center and Jerome Robbins Theater in NYC, amongst others. Residencies include Internationalen Kunstlerhauses Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany. Moraes teaches workshops for the performance studies department at NYU New York University in NYC and is a member of the rasaboxes organization that maintains and develops the performance training methods devised by director Richard Schechner. In 2012, she accomplished a collaboration with Robert Wilson and The Watermill Center as a director, writer and as a playwright for On The Beach (a theater-Opera play), a re-creation of Wilson’s original Einstein On The Beach in collaboration with Phillip Glass. Curated and idealized by Robert Wilson, at The BAC in NYC. She is now currently creating a new performance for Oi Futuro Institution in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Middlesex University with a research focused on public engagement and experimental pedagogy in self-initiated art institutions. He has curated exhibitions and projects for such organizations as Isola Art Center – Milan, Konsthall C - Stockholm, Apexart - NY, Kunstverein – Milan-, and participated in international residencies at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, The Banff Centre in Banff, ICC at Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, Institute of Contemporary Art Yerevan - Armenia and at Futura in Prague. He is a member of IKT – International Association of Curators of Contemporary Arts, - and founder of collective Radical Intention. Collaborative research, activism, alternative education, gatherings, minor narratives and the politics of hospitality play a continuing and vital role within the methodology and interests of Valerio Del Baglivo. In the last years he promoted public programmes aiming at understanding whether the combination of education-centered events – such as lectures, talks, workshops – with performative-driven elements can favor innovative participative curatorial approaches. Samon Takahashi (FR) (b. 1970) is a visual artist and a musician living in Paris, France. His work was presented worldwide in public and private institutions such as Musée d’Art Moderne (Paris), Spiral Art Center (Tokyo), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Laxart (Los Angeles), ICA (London). He is a founding member of the mobile laboratory OuUnPo since 2009, a founding member of the improvised music band GOL since 1989 and is hosting the radio show Epsilonia on Radio Libertaire (Paris) since 1993.

Valerio Del Baglivo (IT) (b. 1979) is a freelance curator, educator and perennial collaborator based in Italy. He is now attending a PhD Programme at









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