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This project is from the Summer of 2010 and is now archived. Visit the IMA Island page for the next related project.


So this weekend I will be working on a video for the 48hr Film Festival so this was my final day on the island. As if it was not hard enough to say goodbye, the weather and everything about today was absolutely gorgeous.

First of all, last night was cool enough after the storms that I actually used a sheet to cover up with! Can you believe it? I woke up this morning feeling well rested, comfortable, and peaceful.

While Mike came to help with tours for a bit, I did some early blogging and hung out with the security guards. I sure will miss hanging out with them in the Visitors Pavilion. As I was about to leave the pavilion after blogging, a family came to visit for a third time this summer. They said they got a tour with Mike but they had to see me before the project ends. I loved seeing them again and hearing that the girl still wears her glasses she got in a trade. Moments like that make the project satisfying.

Later today, my friend Mari came to visit and we rowed around the whole lake picking up messages. After that we walked around the gardens and watched the butterflies suck nectar out of flowers. It was so nice exploring the whole park in such agreeable weather.

I walked back to the island and saw my mom came from Kokomo with her friend Sharon and my friend Caitlyn. I showed them around the island and the rest of 100 Acres. I found a bra hanging in a tree…haha. We also observed the light shining through the pea pods giving us xray vision! The most awesome moment was when when we heard a rustle coming from a nearby bush and a deer ran right in front of us.

Later today after they all left I was picking up more floating messages when I heard another rustle in the bushes…I found the baby deer with the white spots looking right at me. I was so glad to see it again before leaving. Now, I am enjoying the sunset and thinking of all of the wonderful experiences I have had and all of the things I will miss.

This summer has been the best time of my life. I cannot thank all of you enough.

Thank you Andrea Zittel, IMA people, Jenny Mikulay, Greg Hull, Eric Nordgulen, Holly S, my mom Lynn, our blog readers, our visitors, and many more!

This is not the end of the project…we still have this weekend (Mike will be here). Also, we will be posting our reflections, moments, other thoughts, and thanks here for at least the next month. Keep on reading! There is still more to come!


Invasion! (and equations)

Some messages floated over by Eden II and invaded its territory.  I think it is fun to see parts of our piece interacting with another artist’s piece….

Mike + Jess =collaboration

Jess/Mike + Andrea = collaboration

Jess/Mike + public = collaboration

Jess/Mike + Andrea + future islanders = collaboration

public (via Jess/Mike) + Tea Makipaa = collaboration?


High Contrast: Hot/Cold

Besides a couple of nights, I have been out in the heat 24/7 for the past two weeks.  There have been heat advisories from early in the day until 7PM many of these days and it has been up to a scorching 113 degrees according to the heat index.  It seems I have adapted to the heat fairly well (I no longer have rolling sweat on my face all hours of the day.)  Haha.  In fact, stepping inside the island which is 75-90 degrees on the inside compared to 113 outside is just satisfying enough for me.  You would not think a humid 90 degrees would ever feel great, but the contrast from outside in the constant sun feels great.

So here is the crazy thing…Someone brought me a cold bottle of water today which had been chilling in their freezer.  I was so excited to drink something not luke-warm that I chugged this ice water down.  My throat almost hurt because the water felt so cold!

Last week, a friend visited the island but wanted to get some food in the IMA so we hiked over there.  Upon entering the air conditioning, my hair felt like it was all violently standing on end, trying to pull itself out of my body.  Once again, the cold almost felt painful after being so accustomed to the heat.

Here in the US, our homes, restaurants, and institutions blast the AC  way beyond an excessive setting.  In the summer, do our indoor areas need to be so cold that we need jackets and blankets to be comfortable?  And in the winter, do we really need to lounge around in our shorts and t-shirts in the heat of our homes?  If everyone in the US turned down their AC setting by one degree, could you imagine the amount of energy we would save?!


Last week…

Hello everyone.  This coming week is our last week staying on the island! I cannot believe we have been out here for five weeks.  Mike and I have worked on this project since January, so it will be strange not working on it anymore.  I am so exhausted trying to get everything done by myself for the past couple of weeks, but I am still so excited about this incredible experience.  I will miss Indianapolis Island and all of the wonderful people I meet every day.

So this coming week, it will still just be me doing tours most days.  Mike said he might come and help, so hopefully I will get to see him and have his assistance for our final week of the project.  I know we have all missed having him around.  Thankfully, he will be here this weekend so I can do the 48-hr film festival this year with a team of friends.  I am so excited for us all to collaborate on our first film!

I hope for cooler weather this week because my body officially hates me.  It is screaming, “Uh HELLO, Jessica!  Slow down and drink more water!  Take a rest!”  One more week won’t hurt, right?


Solitude – Day 7

I think I am brain dead from the sun.  I am 20% as articulate as usual.  I keep repeating things, forgetting words, and spacing out like a crazy person.  Haha.  This post may be short and confusing….

Time has become so strange.  I have been here for two weeks besides last Saturday, and I cannot decipher what happened which day.  I post messages and trades but I always second-guess if all of this REALLY happened yesterday or three days ago.  Usually, I try to make sure each day is a completely unique experience (and it is), but I have gotten in such a routine for doing tasks that I feel lost in this confused group of weeks.  It is like all of these days were sucked into a black hole in my brain and they all exist as one entity.  Maybe this relates to the black hole of hours of the day.  Now (besides tours on a fairly strict schedule), I operate by the sun only…no clock.

That is all my brain could manage for this day.  I think I need to rehydrate.


Solitude – Day 5

As I spend more and more time on the island, I care less and less about my appearance.  Normally, I would ensemble an outfit like I would an abstract painting, but now I only have a pair of old green athletic shorts and a band T-shirt.  The rest of my clothes are wet from spontaneous rains or just plain smell too bad.  Really, I am doing my best to not smell like an armpit.

I am beginning to become stir-crazy.  To completely engage in this solitude experiment, I really have done my best to stay on the island most of the time I have been here other than when I must blog in the visitors pavilion.  However, recently I leave the island for hours on end to explore the woods, the white river, and the gardens.  When I am on the island, there are still people sitting around the lake watching, but if I am off in the woods or exploring the gardens, I can kind of get away with “disappearing.”  Sure I am still recognized from time to time in the park, but with the help of some sunglasses I can really disappear and be alone.  No one watches your every move when you are just some stinky, disheveled girl in mismatched clothes.


The Knife Incident…

Yes, one of my favorite bands is the Knife.  However, my wonderful, new, sharp knife is obviously not my best friend.  Er, rather it is the type of friend who will stab you right in the back….er…thumb.  Har.  Anyway, as if the cicadas and mosquitoes were not enough of a sleep distraction, my newly injured hand made it impossible to sleep.


Solitude – Day 4

If you are not careful with time, it will just fly right away from you. I keep going to the visitors center to blog, but unfortunately I keep showing up after five when the doors automatically lock. Oops. I promise I will catch up on yesterdays messages tomorrow. Anyway…

The weather has been so bipolar recently. Yesterday sometime early evening, there was a downpour from a random rain cloud which came out of nowhere. Half of the lake was hit by the rain, but the other half was quite sunny. I was rowing around picking up messages enjoying both rain and shine. It seems these spontaneous storms disappear and bring the most beautiful weather afterward.

Last night, as I was rowing back after the rain, I encountered the most lovely sunset. It began with a sky visually reminiscent of a Byzantine painting with golden rays reflecting off the water. Shortly later, the clouds were glowing with a pink luminescent light. Looking at the clouds filled my mouth with the taste of cotton candy. As the sunset reached a crescendo of dramatic colors and a golden lake, I knew it would fade out from there. And it did…

I read books and scratched mosquito bites until my eyes failed to stay open. Finally, my body shut down and I had a full night of sleep, complete with lucid dreams.


Solitude – Day 3

Last night as I was blogging on the iPad, a water spider lowered himself down from the ceiling on to the iPad.  I wondered…how many spiders crawl all over me at night?  Do they crawl in my mouth?  Do they bite me in my sleep?  Oh no!

I have never been a prissy girl, but spiders sometimes give me the “heebie jeebies”.  They are quite fascinating and intriguing but there is something about their movement and the big visible fangs that just creep me out a little.  There is such tension between fascination and fear which i find interesting.  I know there will ALWAYS be spiders on the island and I am okay with that.  I have decided to coexist with them instead of killing them, ESPECIALLY since they eat the smaller, more annoying insects which sometimes make their way on the island.  Still at night when I am laying down trying to sleep, every little thing I feel on my skin whether its my hair or my sheets, I think there is something crawling on me.  If I was just at home in my apartment, I would never think about these kinds of things, but being out on the lake, I am more aware of my surroundings.


One frequently asked question this week has been, “What do you miss the most?”

Personally, I miss music.  I miss listening to my iPod all day while I am working in the studio.  I miss Beethoven, Radiohead, the Knife, Mozart, Islands, Beck, and so much more!  I have about 65 gigabytes of music to constantly entertain me, but on the island I have the screeching cicadas, squawking herons, splashing fish, buzzing flies, peeping birds, roaring airplanes, humming traffic, and laughing children.  I completely love this environment and I am completely embracing the “nature” around me, but I DO look forward to listening to music when I get back.

I also miss being able to leave freely whenever I want.  I am dedicated to the project, so I love what I am doing and I am dedicated to staying, but I am a free-spirit and I love to travel immediately upon impulse.  I also love social events, so it is hard missing parties.  Wanderlust.

Even though there are things I miss about being “home”, I am so grateful for this experience and would not trade it for anything.


I am halfway through my week of solitude and I am having a fantastic time of self-exploration.  3.5 more days to go!


Solitude-Day 2

Living on this island in such an unusual setting has really changed my perception of space, time, and reality.

Something interesting about tours is hearing what everyone expected to see in the island compared to their direct experience with the island. A fascinating recurring difference is within the size of the structure itself. Because of the strange perspective due to the large open area of water against this somewhat ambiguous form (ambiguous because of the irregularity of the white dome space), some people see the island as really tiny and others think it looks fairly large. Upon rowing up to the structure, many say “wow! It is much larger than I expected!” or the complete opposite.

Relating to this, I have had a strange experience with time. Besides giving tours at a somewhat consistent schedule out of consideration for the public, I have been disregarding our conventional measures for time keeping. In a usual day off the island, I carry my cellphone and look at the time all day because I have so many things I must do. Now that I have very little sense of time and less solid plans, counting the hours has become less relevant. Depending on outside variables, time seems to speed by or slow down.

Oh, and reality! My, has my perception been changing! If the iPad was not about to die on me, I would probably rant on about this for another paragraph or two or three or….

Anyway, everything is relative in this infinite universe with infinite potential energy. Time, space, reality…all relative. I am just trying to figure out what my reality means in relation to everything around me. Solitude = self-assessment overload!


Week of “Solitude”-Day 1

So, this week is the official start of my week of “solitude”.  I will be the only inhabitant on the island and I will not use my cellphone or facebook.  Of course, I still must communicate with the IMA, do tours, collect messages, etc. so there will be some amount of communication.

Last week from Monday-Saturday, I was here by myself except for when Mike came to do interviews together with PBS, so I sort of got a taste of  “solitude.”  Doing all of our island duties we proposed is quite exhausting on your own (especially in the heat)!  I am so glad Mike and I are working together most weeks on the project, because there is a lot to do!  Anyway, I was still able to receive many visitors last week since I had my birthday.  This week should be a lot more quiet…closer to solitude.  Turning off my phone and taking a break from social networking does not worry me much considering I was in Germany for almost a month.  There, I did not use my phone, and I did not use the internet much.  I look forward to experiencing the simple life again…just living in the now, doing simple tasks, reading, writing, drawing.

I have been reading a lot on the island.  I finished the Little Prince and now I am reading A Walk in the Woods.  Last night when I was reading, I was getting paranoid because of the way Bill Bryson speaks about solitude in nature…no one can help you right away when you are alone.  If a bear attacks you, then your flesh will just disappear into the woods.  You could be missing for months.  LUCKILY, there are no bears here AND we have wonderful 24-hr security I call right up on the radio.  Still, I grew paranoid about MYSELF.  What if I CHOKE on a piece of granola?  Who will save me?

I also began to think about THIS particular “immersion” into “nature.”  (Yes, I am getting quote-happy.)  I live in a white dome carved out of foam and coated with fiberglass, floating on a lake from an old quarry.  There are art pieces everywhere, thousands of visitors, Visitor’s Pavilion, constant security, and the constant hum of I-65 in the background.  Nature juxtaposed with art and institution…what an interesting dynamic.  This combination has provided such a unique experience and I find myself questioning what kind of environment I am supposed to embrace in my life. 

I love nature and I love the city.  I love being social, yet sometimes I get reclusive.  I love human-made synthetic objects, yet I love nature.  I am a walking dichotomy and this, THIS Indianapolis Island is my perfect home.


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