These balloons are part of on-going research begun in 2010 and were collected from a beach on Block Island, a small island off the coast of New England in the USA. The beach is an isolated and rugged environment of cliffs and boulders facing the open Atlantic. Along with the expected detritus of landslide, fallen trees and wreckage from the shipping industry, it is striking the number of cellophane balloons which accumulates here. Wrapped around boulders, buried in the sand, accumulated in masses like seaweed they are the dead junk of a consumer society which causes huge environmental damage. Formed from PET plastic they are remarkably durable and even after years in the environment remain structurally intact and can be re-inflated. It is only the garish decorations, the sentimental slogans that erode from the surface leaving behind a narrative of waste and emotional longing.
nostalgia is a formation of Greek compounds, consisting of νόστος, nóstos, “returning home”, a Homeric word, and ἄλγος, álgos, “pain” or “ache”. The word analgesic derives from Greek an- (“without”) and algos (“pain”).
This is a work in progress that is part of a larger project called Nostalgia/Analgesic which is a collaboration between myself and poet Sheila Black. Nostalgia/Analgesic builds on a previous collaboration Continental Drift, which formed an exhibit at the Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh 2010.
Nostalgia/Analgesic explores the origins, problems and outlets of nostalgia as both “analgesia” and a source of “pain,” through a combination of found objects, paintings, and sculptures by me and documentary, lyric, and hybrid (lyric essay) poetry by Sheila Black.
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