Fragments of an Imagined Place
Fragments of an Imagined Place references the vast and varying histories related to Atlantis: its roots in Plato’s writing, its resurrection in 19th century conjectural texts, its relation to theosophy, and its influence on new age and conceptual art. As a point of departure, I revisit Robert Smithson’s failed “Glass Island (Atlantis)” project, which would have been his first permanent Earth Work. Smithson intended to fill a small islet off the coast of Vancouver Island with 100 tons of glass shards to turn it into "a thing of beauty, reflecting light off the water." While the glass was in transit from California, press coverage of the proposed work alerted environmentalists who pressured the BC government to withdraw its permission in loaning Smithson the islet or any other property for his project. "Fragments of an Imagined Place” re-examines the conceptual framework of Smithson's unrealized project, Atlantis's relationship to notions of utopias, disasters, futures and pasts, and how this myth serves as a metaphor for the artistic practice.