Magkaugnay – Tagalog/Filipino [noun] connected, related, kindred
I believe I already have a deep relationship with nature. I commune with her, and she whispers back to me. In this project, I flew to Iceland to dive deeper in this connection with her and bask myself in her beauty.
The remoteness of Skagaströnd felt like a paradox; the town was isolated, but I felt all the more connected to it. The sea, the rocks, the wind, the morning lights, the mountains – all of them playing their songs, but only if you tune in to their frequency.
This is what I heard.
I look out to the sea, and feel the water in my body.
The rocks and the minerals in my flesh.
The branches and roots, and my veins.
The wind, and my breath.
The sun, and my warmth.
I am nature. We are nature.
We cannot escape being her, no matter how much science, art, and “man-made” things we create. We do not see beehives, beaver dams, and bird’s nests as “bee-made,” “beaver-made,” or “bird-made” – in our eyes, they are all natural. If we challenge that perception, all our knowledge, creativity, and thoughts are part and parcel of our nature. And we are part of her; all these are part of her.
If you ask her further, she will tell you something else.
Yes, even our pollution and destruction are part of nature, even if our actions disturb our planet to the point that it will no longer be a viable home to a lot of living creatures – including us.
It is apparent that she doesn’t need us, but we need her. She may be hurting now, but change entails pain. She will make new creatures and systems that could thrive in conditions that we consider unliveable. She is giving birth to a new world that we will no longer be a part of.
We will perish, but she will adapt.
She will change.
She will heal.
Ehrlich Marz Ocampo
Nes Artist Residency
ARTIST’S NOTE: Magkaugnay is a project in progress. This first chapter was conceived and created during the artist’s residency in Nes Artist Residency, Iceland for the duration of October 2019.