Randi Giles

No name, other than Island

Prudence Island seems to be the main focus of my work in seminar. Through Prudence Island I plan to explore the meaning of what it is to live on an island, or what is an island. So far I have explored the perimeter of the island, taken notes, drawn, photographed, and gathered objects. I hope that through these objects, drawings and images I can make a quiet catalog, or series of books, documenting my findings of this specific place during this specific time. I like to think about it as an informal history of an island. There are traces of people in the nature (rock carvings) and vis versa (the man made objects with barnacles). I find the stuggle? between nature and humans interesting, organic vs geometric. Humans are always trying to contain nature or control it, but on an island humans are the things being contained, and limited. I find this interesting, and hope to present this in my work.

I am also interested in what we consider to be an island other than a piece of land surrounded by water. When is something small enough that it becomes a vessel, and not an island? Why can’t vessels be islands? Can people be islands, or can objects be islands? I think islands are these neat microcosms for life to exist. And they can be considered a joy to live on, or a pain. I sometimes forget that an island isn’t necessarily constant, eventually it’s shoreline will change, and it probably will disappear into the sea. Therefore an island is ephemeral, like the objects that I have found on it’s shore, and like the names carved in stone.

11 October 2011


Prudence Island

I am interested in islands. For my thesis I want to explore themes, symbolism and issues surrounding islands. I am interested in the natural borders of islands and in the struggle between nature and humans. I would like to make a book about the geographical history of Prudence Island devoid of humans. When or if the environment changes by a mysterious force would infer the human presence.

I am also interested in making physical objects. I want to make islands out of letters of type. Possibly out of buoyant materials. Anything that floats can be an island, or a vessel to an island.

11 September 2011


I am fascinated with Islands. Islands bring up all kinds of interesting thoughts and issues like isolation, community, ecology, autonomy, sacrifice, survival, necessities, seclusion, culture, quotidian needs, history, and preservation. I am even interested in the ways of journeying to an island by way of floating vessels. I grew up on and island called Prudence Island, and I have a lot of connection to it. It is a place where I will revisit my entire life. I want to document this place because I find it so surreal. In my opinion there are a lot of interesting facts about this place.

Functioning one room school house
Half Island is saved as a nature reserve
Old Navy Base full of nature engulfed army bunkers
My great grandmother runs the only store and mail room
People hunt deer
Abandoned Burnt Castle
Currently Wes Anderson is shooting parts of his newest film there
Cool lighthouse
Incredible people

There is a lot of information to gather, and photographs to be taken. I might want to make a magazine about it. And I want to make a physical typographic, topographical Prudence island out of molded plywood or whatever would work best. I want to make an island of Isolated type that would sit in the gallery in the shape of the island and it would say prudence. This is kind of ambitious considering I haven’t taken any wood fab classes. But I want to at least try. The first semester will be gathering information, photos and writing what I want the articles and some designing. This place is very amazing and meaningful to me, and I want to share it with people.

The concept of the deserted island is both our greatest fantasy and our greatest fear.
— Andrea Zittel

I am also fascinated by Sir Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance. I want to share and explore this amazing story/history of adventure, survival, and hope through graphic design. I could make an adventure book, or an interactive website. I also want to design and make physical objects with type. Possibly a topographic, typographic island made out of molded plywood.

Food Not Bombs
I would like to start up a Beverly Food Not Bombs chapter again, and make promotional stuff for that, posters, informational booklets, banners, info graphic posters about waste and consumption of products and food that gets thrown away everyday how to dumpster diving. I am interested in efficiency, humanitarianism, consumption and green products.

Andrea Zittel
Xu Bing
House Industries
Maya Lin

3 Responses to “Randi Giles”

  1. Randi Giles

    I was thinking of making an “I Land”. The “I Land” would be in the shape of an “I ” and it would be made out of buoyant materials that can only hold about my own weight. It would also be a little taller than my self. The “I Land” would be my own personal floating vessel/ island specifically designed for me. The topography of the “I” would conform to the shape of my body. So the I Land is topographic, typographic and biomorphic at the same time. I would take pictures of it floating around in the bay.

  2. John

    i-land, is-land, isl-and…
    I’m thinking also of your choice of “storytelling” as the principle to discuss yesterday.

    A floating island might collect (and release) components as it migrates. I’d suggest that the project be conceived in a way that its very structure, its very definition, allows it to evolve as it proceeds… rather than pre-vision the final island (conforming to the shape of your body), allow it to morph, change shape — just as you will, one hopes, over time.
    look up Richard Long — monograph Walking the line (2002) on library shelf at N 6797 L65 A4 2002

    I still think a perambulation around the entirety of Prudence Island would be a good start. take notes. draw. list. possibly (but probably not) take photographs. gather (twigs, flotsam and jetsam, bones, feathers, shells…

    And build a book — a floating book?. What would that mean, a raft? Flotsam and jetsam, too, could be the “stuff” of a raft, a vessel, a floating island that gives (and takes).

    But by all means also, build a boat (a vessel, a “coracle“? which is also the name of a small literary publisher (ask about, in class, if interested). Floating islands… Laputa (in the sky, Gulliver’s Travels), also Hannsjörg Voth, for example his Reise ins Meer (Journey to the Sea); a chapter devoted to him can be found in Udo Weilacher Between Landscape Architecture and Land Art (1996), on seminar room table.

    Would be nice to see here, and better on a blog post, a picture/drawing of/around Prudence Island…

  3. Randi Giles

    I am definitely going home this weekend to walk around the island to collect flotsam and jetsam. I think it will be good to have physical evidence of the island to bring back here. Thanks for the references. Hansnsorg Voth looks really interesting.

Leave a Reply of Your Own