Land Art

Maine 2003

Projects on Nothingness

For my second year on Nothingness I decided live in complete seclusion testing my wilderness survival skills for ten days on the barren rock in the midst of the ocean.

First I performed another thorough Island Cleansing. Next, I began construction on a shelter. Since Nest from the previous year did not provide much protection from the elements, I decided to build a weatherproof cocoon-shaped shelter using two wooden pallets as a base, with a wood frame and a cover made from sailcloth. I also brought a selection of tools and objects to aid my survival.

The weather Gods were kind to me for the most part, and thanks to my sturdy shelter I was able to survive an intense overnight rainstorm. During the full moon, I awoke to the soft murmur of water nearby, realizing that the high tide had risen much higher than usual. Fortunately, I was able to move myself and my belongings to the highest point of Nothingness and remain relatively dry.

I documented my daily activities for the ten days on the island: harvesting seaweeds, cooking on my tiny camp stove, collecting what had washed onto the island at high tide (mostly lobster buoys), kayaking to the neighboring island so that I could harvest pine needles, eating, collecting water, meditating and bathing.

Even though I was blissfully isolated, almost as if I were on my own planet, I could sense that the fishermen in the area had noticed my presence and were possibly observing me through binoculars. I tried to ignore the feeling of being watched as much as I could, and as an “alibi” I always had a tripod and camera visibly set up to look as if I were photographing the abundant bird population around me.

I concluded my stay by giving “offerings” to the island. I donated my last potable water to the bushel of grass on the highest point of the rock and constructed a Mandala from the oatmeal I had left for the bird population to enjoy following my departure.

The experience of living on Nothingness made me feel like Saint-Exupéry's Little Prince, carefully and lovingly tending to my island as if it were the only place in the entire universe. I consider it one of my most special places.

Shelter Frame, Maine, 2003 Shelter Construction, Maine, 2003 Shelter and Storage Annex, Maine, 2003 Shelter and Storage Annex, Maine, 2003 Shelter at Night, Maine, 2003 Early Morning Trash Collection, Maine, 2003 Tool Inventory, Maine, 2003 Found Lobster Buoys, Maine, 2003 My Refrigerator, Maine, 2003 Cooking, Maine, 2003 Perfectly Chilled Produce, Maine, 2003 Making Tea from Pine Needles, Maine, 2003 Seaweeds (Cooked), Maine, 2003 Periwinkles, Maine, 2003 Three Periwinkles and Scale, Maine, 2003 Weighing One Periwinkle, Maine, 2003 Contemplation, Maine, 2003