Beyond the Bright Black Edge of Nowhere
In 1982 when Simon Wilkinson was 12 years old, his mother bought him a copy of ‘Mysteries of the World’ magazine. Inside was a story from 1959 about how eight students from Magic Valley Liberal Arts College in Idaho had gone missing in very mysterious circumstances; and that all that was ever found of them were eight letters, written by the students to their parents, detailing a journey to what they described as ‘the bright black edge of nowhere’. Stranger still was the fact that the letters had been discovered inside a black wooden cube fifty miles into the Great Basin Desert. No explanation was ever found for their disappearance and eventually the case was dropped.
Years later in 2013, Simon Wilkinson [now an artist], came across a reference to the disappearances in a conspiracy theorist’s blog and wondered whether there was an opportunity to dig deeper into this fascinating story and perhaps make a piece of work about it.
What, eventually, resulted was an email to Burley Historical Society in Idaho who confirmed that they had taken taken possession of the letters and a few photographs relating to the case in the early 1980s and that, if it was dealt with sensitively, Simon could access their archive and turn the story into a show.
As it turned out, the disappearance of the young people was not necessarily the strangest aspect of this story: what happened in the years that followed is testament to the fact that what we call ‘reality’ is in fact an interpretation of events; and that that ‘interpretation’ relates not only to the facts of the case but also to a whole host of both deliberate and subconscious manipulations and distortions.
“This is the story of something very strange that happened in 1959 in America. What happened was so strange, in fact, that none of the people directly affected by the story have been able to tell it for over fifty years; it is a story which has become almost entirely lost”.
Made with the support of Federation Square [Melbourne], Lomtrask108 [Sweden] and The Old Market [UK].