WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEREMY EVERETT
Tomatoes, cucumbers, paprika, roses, potted plants… The ecosystems found within Iceland’s geothermal greenhouses are vast—supporting the growth of a variety of different produce—and situated in the last ecological community that comes to mind: the middle of a volcanic landscape. For our latest issue, photographer Jeremy Everett traveled to the Northern hemisphere to capture an array of life, and all its juxtapositions, thriving by raging heat from the earth below it.
The volcanic landscape in Iceland is so dramatic and severe, probably the closest thing to a lunar experience that I have had. Within that life vacuum, there are these boxes of light, these geothermal greenhouses producing tropical fruit—including one of the largest banana plantations in Europe. I was interested in the visual result and fragility of the greenhouse system flourishing in an uninhabitable environment, as well as the dynamic quality of the larger landscape—an active volcano on the verge of eruption five minutes away from an outdoor swimming pool heated with this same energy. That juxtaposition excited me. The tourist sign at the geyser says with authority that it will erupt every five to ten minutes. The cycle repeats, but somehow, every cycle is a unique surprise that leads one to wonder if it will happen again. Seeing these greenhouses made me question what is natural now.
Are the strawberries, bananas, and I the same, tourists temporarily surviving in an artificial environment? Are we an experiment in global exchange or a permanent alteration?
Neo-Natural is a study of humankind's relationship to nature in the age of climate change, including topics such as resource depletion and regeneration, gene editing, cellular agriculture, and the increasingly inarguable effects of the Anthropocene on indigenous communities around the globe. It features contributions from artists like Yoko Ono, ANOHNI, Ryan McGinley, Daniel Beltra, and more, all attempting to answer the question: What does "natural" mean in the modern world?