• Operating the 360 film rig of 12 Super 8 cameras (Bieulieu 4008)
  • Inside the Iddu installation tent
  • Iddu installation at the 2010 Busan Biennial
  • Ash explosions from the central crater
  • Head of Empedocles?
  • Iddu film crew and guide
  • Akio Suzuki performing on Stromboli
  • The last sequence, bees drinking from an outside shower
  • Editing in London
  • Filming the opening sequence from the island of Basiluzzo, where Antonioni filmed L'Avventura in 1960
  • Lava splatter

Iddu

360 degree installation using 12 screens within a 10m wide viewing space

Iddu (Him) refers to the local name for the island of Stromboli, a small conical land mass formed by 2.5 millenia of constant volcanic activity. the island assumes the leading role in this artwork, conveying the artist’s response to the seductive combination of intense beauty and thrill of danger after witnessing Nature’s unpredictable, awe-inspiring demonstration of supernatural energy, over which mankind has no control….

Made over a four-year period, this 15 minute film combines 360 and 180 panoramic multi-camera views captured on Super 8 film. Slowly unfurling, these reveal an enveloping vista portraying a place of sanctuary, or a precarious spot beside a threatening cauldron of glowing molten magma. Graham effectively conveys an understated knowledge of this landscape after working briefly with local volcanologists, capturing images of explosive activity with ultra high-speed cameras triggered remotely by a seismometer.

Referencing landscape, Iddu has been conceived as a metaphor for the human psyche and acquisition of wisdom – or ‘scientia sacra’, as described by Thomas Aquinas in his Aristotelian metaphysics, where ‘Knowledge’ or ‘acquisition of wisdom’ is revealed intuitively by the divine, and closely connected with religious faith. Provenance of the work can be traced to Edmund Burke’s concept of the sublime as set out in his famous book ‘A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful’

The sound is a collaboration between James P Graham and celebrated sound artist Akio Suzuki who visited Stromboli to perform in-situ on the volcano. His instrument ‘Analapos’ was installed at close proximity to the crater, capturing the available winds and emitting a unique series of sounds – a veritable Aeolian harp. these sounds undoubtedly infuse the work with an extra layer, which seems both primordial and sacred.

Iddu was first displayed in its full 360 degree vista at the Musee d’Art Moderne Luxembourg (MUDAM) in 2007 and was then exhibited in South Korea at the Busan Biennial 2010. A dual-screen version was specially adapted for the exhibition ‘Volcano: from Turner to Warhol’ at Compton Verney UK summer 2010 curated by James Hamilton. Alberto Bougleux has made a comprehensive documentary about the making of Iddu which can be viewed here.

The project would have been impossible without the generous funding support ofthe Arts Council of England and the NESTA Foundation.