A fjord is a depression between mountains where the land meets the sea. Forming over millions of years, glaciers have carved out unique sloping topographies in this terrain. These gentle, cradle-like landscapes make life easier in harsh climates and bring protection and sustenance to those that live within. Like a child in a mother’s womb, the life of those who live in these landscapes are tied.
Earthwomb was developed while I was living and working in Seydisfjordur— a small town located within the east fjords of Iceland. The work responds to the questions— how can we create new rituals that engage the ground to generate connection with the Earth? How can ritual serve as a tool that cultivates more harmonious futures?
Born from my practices in collecting, walking, and stillness, Earthwomb captures a ritual I invented and performed in effort to return to the land. In this ritual, a shallow oval depression just large enough for a human body is constructed and set into the ground. This empty space becomes a type of invitation. Answering the Earth’s silent call, the participant lays down and roots themselves in the fetal position. Connecting to the ground in this way is warming, even on cold days, and draws us nearer to our origins. Here, the Earth can be felt and listened to more clearly.
Earthwomb considers how we may create meaningful spaces with land to illuminate our reciprocity with the Earth. Played to the ghostly lullaby of “I Dont Want to Set the World on Fire” by the Ink Spots, the two-channel video references a child in a womb and weaves this intimate relationship into the surrounding fjord. The work explores the ground’s ability to heal, protect, and sustain, while exposing our fragile and vulnerable interdependence with Earth.
Listen to the plants sleep. They don't mind the cold. Sink into Silence and the world comes alive, as honey in a tree. I dream I am the size of a pebble or a seed. To explore their infinity— in my house that is round as Ymir's skull. I am killer. Warm and empty in my mother's womb. Cracking to pieces we are still. Glued together by the space between them, the space that once held them together, the space between that broke inside them. That broke inside them. The water broke inside them. To pieces into dew.
Poem by Monroe Isenberg
Earthwomb process video below