Comprising a series of photographs, a small sculpture and a video projection, Waiting at the place where America parts from Eurasia came out of a trip Shirley Tse made to Iceland in November 2004, shortly after the last presidential election.
Sitting squarely on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is located precisely at the divergent boundary of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Taking this drifting apart as an analogy for the United States’ political shift away from many of its traditional allies, Tse represents this isolation by placing a solitary bench in the landscape. The bench, made of Tse’s customary material, polystyrene, plays on the lack of a sense of scale in a landscape in flux thereby extending the metaphor. This tiny, almost comic, inorganic object emphasizes human smallness in the face of nature’s enormous power, making obvious our precarious and fragile existence within such a force. The bench is also a place to wait or contemplate one’s surroundings, a clear reference to the ecological issues currently in debate.