atlas of remote islands


Geography Thursday: Land in water, landing on land

Pithy quotes about islands and humanity are plentiful and sift their way through our brains such that we are always aware of the metaphor of the island, fearful of our own loneliness and despair, careful of misstep, lest our desire for excitement and remembrance lead us to a fate like Robinson Crusoe. Wait: is Robinson Crusoe still in our consciousness? Or do you imagine, instead, a furry-faced Tom Hanks finding solace and friendship in a volleyball?

But islands do not have to be desolate. They can abound with exotic fruits and hammocks. They can be spaces for rejuvination and hope. They can promise hot romance, or something like that. It just depends on your conception of island. For most of us, popular culture tells us that islands – no matter how remote – offer nothing short of exotic and erotic adventure. Think: Gilligan. Think: Lost. Think: Survivor.


March 3rd, 2011 / 4:39 pm


1. See left. (an excerpt: Amsterdam Island, France-
Everyone who stays on Amsterdam for longer than a year is examined by a medical officer from the south of France to check that he is coping with the long period of restriction of movement and the confined, purely masculine environment. No woman has visited longer than two days. At night, the men gather in the small video room in Great Skua to watch one of the porn films from their personal collection. Each man sits in a row on his own. The loudspeakers emit grunts and groans, and the air is heavy with the musky scent of the bull seals.)

2. See fifty (unfairly forgotten films).

3. See the wheel turn (on Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series).

4. See new money.

5. See # above, + hats.

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October 6th, 2010 / 9:41 pm