For the Lift project, going back to my roots and just emptying my head made perfect sense. Home is the Island of Föhr in the North Sea and I never tire of it. The landscape acts like a blank canvas, allowing me to free my mind and see life from a new perspective. I was enjoying a long walk on the Wadden Sea when I noticed this incredible piece of driftwood. It was half a tree with roots lying in the mud. Something clicked when I saw it. I was drawn to its beauty, textures and shape. I decided to take it with me and carry it over my shoulder. As the tide was rising, I had to leave the waterline and head back to the shore. I kept on thinking about my newly found treasure. Where did it come from and where was it going? How long had it been drifting on the water for? I guess this is where it all started and the project was born.
I went back home and examined the wood. I realised I wanted to translate it into something else, use the actual object as a starting point and let my imagination take over. What fascinated me the most was not knowing its journey and exact provenance. The idea of exploring these questions through film seemed logical and I asked Canadian director, artist and photographer Malcolm Pate if he could illustrate this for me with a short piece. I wanted the work to refer to the world of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, with an austere and almost desolate feel. The driftwood becomes the main protagonist, driving the narrative throughout the scenes. The landscape had to have a surreal and dreamlike quality, expressing a moment of doubt, when you're not sure if you're conscious of half-awake. As the film unfolds, the landscape becomes blurrier and darker. Malcolm's images are striking, powerful and slightly unnerving at the same time. I think he completely understood what the vision should be.
What appeals to me about the driftwood is the fact that it's in a state of flux, becoming something as opposed to being. It triggered my fantasy, opening up an ocean of possibilities. In our lives, we get to find out about ourselves through transition, change and the unknown. However unsettling this may be, there is no progress without uncertainty. The path of life is not a straight one. We go from shore to shore, unaware of what comes next. What matters the most is not the moment when we get there, but what happens during that journey. Identity is a work in progress. The things that we cannot control or decipher are precisely the ones that will shape and turn us into who we really are.
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