As mentioned in the last post, while dejected at the expectation of not being able to visit the summit crater, I began contemplating future artworks that would channel my frustration. Instead of representing the actual crater, I would depict it how I imagined it to be, or how I wanted it to be - human-scaled, with an element of fragility. While the actual visit may have removed some of the imaginative element, it still left me with thoughts on how I might portray the crater and summit in an idealized way.
One idea is to depict the crater even smaller, and place on its rim some form of incongruous human element (a rocking chair or beach umbrella comes to mind). This would have the effect of both emphasizing the human scale of the crater and "domesticating" it, in a way that might bring a few other things to mind:
(Oddly I don't remember The Little Prince having a profound effect on me when I was young...more so when I read it in high school French class. I think my volcano interest way back then was more in the violent, explosive kind. On the other hand The Twenty-One Balloons, which I remember as the story of a bucolic, manicured settlement on the island of Krakatoa, struck more of a chord.)
A work with this theme might be smaller than my typical 4'x4'-and-up dimensions, in keeping with the idea of miniaturization. The trick would be to achieve the right mood; I would hope to strike a balance between ominous and playful/cartoonish, since the latter alone seems a little less interesting. The atmosphere will probably depend on lot on how the human element is depicted. (I've been working with this challenge in my current painting, At the Aloes, which is the first to include anything constructed.)
Another project - one that I had been thinking about for a long time - came again to the front of my mind while driving around the Tenerife, and viewing it from above on the summit of Mt.Teide and from an ariplane window. It involves walking all the roads and trails of a small, ecologically-diverse island while taking photographs at some constant interval (say every 100m). The resulting images would be combined and overlaid over a giant aerial photograph, ideally leaving few gaps, to create a complete "picture" of the island's diversity. In a sense, it would be a much-expanded version of my photo-montages that represent ecologically-diverse islands.
The key would be to find the island with the best possible combination of high ecological diversity, small land area, and relatively little elevation change. Tenerife may or may not qualify, but in any case its area would involve too large of a time investment for a first-time attempt. I've tentatively decided to try out the idea on the Caribbean island of Saba, covering only 13 square kilometers but encompassing a transition from semi-desert to cloud forest. At the moment I'm trying to set up a collaboration with researchers at the Saba Conservation Foundation, which would likely mean combining the photography with some other form of data (climatological, topographical). This approach would give the outcome a greater reach. But otherwise, I would still try to make it happen on my own. Stay tuned for updates as this materializes.