During the summer 2020, as a part of Útúr- project we moved to the North of Iceland; our aim was to map out the area through collaboration with the local community, focusing on both: humans, as well as other animals and plants inhabiting the territory marked as the Þingeyjarsveit and Skútustaðahreppur.
As one of many we encountered rhubarb, a plant considered to be both: domesticated and wild. Growing in the gardens, next to the farms, as well as in the vast and empty fields covering the area, rhubarb does not spread its seeds uncontrolled; therefore the wide leaves hovering above the horizon grow only where they had been put into the soil and intentionally planted by hand. The feral rhubarb is quite common in the area — as abandoned by human — it never is truly wild. It is most often considered to be a fruit, yet it is a vegetable; it’s taste hardly breaks through the sweetness of sugar added to the pies, syrups or jams, most often refraining its sour potential. It rarely is appreciated for how it is, nor tried to be understood better.
After spending some time in between its leaves, our urge became apparent; to live underneath the rhubarb umbrella for a week, tuning in to the rhythm of the growing plant and noticing its reactions to our company, rather than exclusively using it as a source of food or a dye for textiles.
On the pages of the book which you can download below, you can read highlights from our journal entrances; on the time spent in the company of rhubarb and the community circling around its steady life on one of many mounds of Ljósavatnsskarð.