ilana halperin

Ilana Halperin, A Brief History of Mobile Landmass, 2009.

Ilana Halperin, A Brief History of Mobile Landmass, 2009. Courtesy of the artist

Ilana Halperin has compiled a fascinating narrative for Portscapes. For this narrative, Halperin not only made use of facts, fiction and personal fieldwork, but also of research and assessments from volcanologists, geologists and the experts involved in the construction of Maasvlakte 2. It offers reflections, speculations and interpretations surrounding both the artificial and natural processes that form the basis for the creation of new land. Recalling Jules Verne’s ‘Voyages Extraordinaires’, Halperin couples a wealth of scientific information with wonderful and vivid description.

A Brief History of Mobile Landmass is your guide through the landscape, with tales of newborn islands, otherworldly Hawaiian magma and the fire god Pele, a Rotterdam ‘lava floe’ and the ‘industrial volcanoes’ of its port. To paraphrase Mark Twain’s astonished response to the eruption of Kilauea in 1866: ‘Here is room for the imagination to work!’


Visitors to the Maasvlakte 2 information centre FutureLand can use an MP3 player to listen to A Brief History of Mobile Landmass until 2013.


The making of


The work of Ilana Halperin (New York, 1973; lives and works in Glasgow, United Kingdom) explores the relationship between geological phenomena and daily life. Whether boiling milk in a 100°C sulphur spring in the crater of an active volcano or celebrating her birthday with a landmass of the same age, the geologic history and environmental situation specific to the locale directly informs the direction each piece takes. Recent projects take as a starting point a personal experience with an unexpected geological phenomenon. Increasingly interconnected events of a political, historical and everyday nature are progressively drawn together to form a narrative. Each story explores the changeable nature of landmass, using geology as a language to understand our relationship to a constantly evolving world.