Exploring Iceland with the Abandoned Houses Project
Dwarfed by the powerful landscapes, the abandoned farm houses of Iceland are easy to overlook among the mountains and fjords. Eyðibýli — a project to document these abandoned homes — was started in 2011 to help save these ruins from obscurity.
The nonprofit’s mission is to ”to research and register the magnitude and cultural importance of every abandoned farm and other deserted residences in the rural areas of Iceland.” They started in the south of the county and most recently covered the northwest in a journey to photograph these abandoned houses and interview locals about the areas’ heritage.
The results of this research are published in a series of publications called Eyðibýli á Íslandi. The fourth and fifth books in the series, which are rich with haunting photographs of the homes in the sweeping settings, were published in 2013. The main organizations behind Eyðibýli are R3-Consultancy, Gláma-Kím architects, and the Stapi Geology Consultancy, with collaborators including engineering, architecture, and archaeology students at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, the University of Iceland, and Institute of Archaeology, as well as the Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland and the National Archives of Iceland.
Circus Tree: Six individual sycamore trees were shaped, bent, and braided to form this.
how the hell do you bend and braid a tree
Actually pretty easy. Trees don’t reject tissue from other trees in the same family. You bend the tree to another tree when it is a sapling, scrape off the bark on both trees where they touch, add some damp sphagnum moss around them to keep everything slightly moist and bind them together. Then wait a few years- The trees will have grown together.
You can use a similar technique to graft a lemon branch or a lime branch or even both- onto an orange tree and have one tree that has all three fruits.
As a biologist I can clearly state that plants are fucking weird and you should probably be slightly afraid of them.
On that note! At the university (UBC) located in town, the Agriculture students were told by their teacher that a tree flipped upside down would die. So they took an excavator and flipped the tree upside down. And it’s still growing. But the branches are now the roots, and the roots are now these super gnarly looking branches. Be afraid.
But Vi, how can you mention that and NOT post a picture? D:
To see more of Javier’s work, follow @javicalleja on Instagram.
"I really hope I can make someone smile every day," says Spanish artist Javier Calleja (@javicalleja), who lives and works in Málaga. Javier’s bright, whimsical creations take the form of drawings, paintings and occasionally sculpture.
Since joining Instagram a year ago, Javier’s built a community around his playful, surreal aesthetic. “As an artist, Instagram gives me the opportunity to share my work around the world,” Javier explains. But Javier’s use of Instagram goes deeper, and he uses the platform to engage with his fans. “I’ll do art just for Instagram,” he says. “It’s a great testing ground.”