NICHOLAS FOLLAND: THE APPROACH
Miraculous places can and do exist.
In developing new work for the Adelaide Biennial, I have been drawn to the Mediterranean Island of Santorini, or Ancient Thera, speculated to be the location of mythical Atlantis.
In Plato’s Critias, Atlantis is described as a paradise of advanced culture, beauty and abundance. Archaeological evidence indicates that a remarkable civilisation existed on Thera prior to a catastrophic volcanic eruption dated to 1500 BC, which perhaps brought an end to the great Atlantian Empire. It is not, however, archaeology or hard evidence that inspires our romantic attachment to Atlantis, but rather our desire to speculate that miraculous places can and do exist.
It is with this same romantic and speculative spirit that Australia was first described by Europeans as the Antipodes – a land opposed to reason and void of logic, a place where anything was possible. Speculation seduced early travellers to risk their lives and civility in a quest to experience the wonders of the world beyond the horizon. Islands, whether they be Atlantis or the Antipodes, can spark our imagination with fantastic creatures and mysterious sceneries.
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