Here in Iceland, the idea of owning one’s own time has taken on new meaning. Today, I will be one of 83 people who will knit one piece for one hour. Among the goals is to go as slow as the slowest person, which could be me because I don’t knit well. But I have been encouraged to still participate. I have Kerstin Lindstrom, Swedish textile artist, to thank for this opportunity. To learn more about this “knitting in circle” project, visit this link.
I met Kerstin at Textilsetur, the Icelandic Textile Center. It is located in a former’s women’s college in Blonduos, a town about 240 miles northwest of Reykjavik, the country’s capital. Here, we are among several artists who have time to explore our art and research. In my case, I am interested in how people, especially women, move through space and claim power.
What do I, as a person constructed as black, woman and American, feel as I move through a country where there are very few people who look like me?
It is odd having time to really think through this question (and its ties to my ongoing interest in spatial politics on the Florida peninsula and an earlier exhibit at the University of Alabama) because I also have time to create. It is sometimes wearying, too, as it is daylight almost all of the time as the solstice approaches. I am so used to running here and there. Here, I could do the same. I have done the same (mostly as I prepare to screen the jazz documentary). But mostly, I am forced to take the cue Kerstin has offered: own your own time.
I may never come this way again. Or I may come again and again. But no time will be like now. So, I’d better be here with every feeling. See as many Icelandic sunsets as I can. Think of all of the people like me who could not, among them my mother who sometimes tells me, “I get to travel through you because I am a part of you.”