Huffington Post
First Posted: 02-25-11 05:46 PM | Updated: 02-25-11 05:46 PM

To look at it, one would never suspect that the mostly barren, deserted island situated off the coast of Mexico would have such a compelling history. But the little-known Island of Clipperton has a strange story to tell, one that reveals as much about its unique geographic and ecological past as it does its human history. In March, a group of 14 art and science professionals (7 scientists and 7 artists) will embark on an unprecedented exploration of Clipperton’s biosphere, delving into the island’s complex past through the multi-faceted lens of these two different yet converging fields.

The Clipperton Project is the brainchild of expedition leader and artist Jon Bonfiglio, who believes the journey will address relevant social, cultural and ecological concerns. The plan: Bonfiglio and his art-and-science dream team will set sail on a 3-week expedition of the atoll, exploring its obscure lagoon as well as its cultural history. Specifically, the team will focus on the ill-fated attempt of colonization during the early 20th century, and how the disaster affected the surrounding environment. The participants will then produce works inspired by the island, which will later be displayed at a variety of science and cultural institutions across the globe. Additional plans are already underway to publish a book about what promises to be a remarkable journey.

The goal, according to Bonfiglio, is to reveal not only the fascinating history of the abandoned island, but to highlight what Clipperton symbolizes on a grand scale. “The idea of an international arts science expedition came about as offering a way to explore areas such as global warming and environmental issues through cross-cultural dialogue,” he said. “By linking these two broad areas of endeavour it would bring something new to the fore and hopefully reach new audiences.” In a recent interview with MutualArt.com, this artist-turned-“Clipperton Captain” outlined the mission in detail, elaborating on his plans for this innovative project.

What is the Clipperton Project?
The Clipperton Project is a multi-disciplinary, four-nation arts and science project which aims to take some of the very best practitioners in the arts and sciences from Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States and France on an expedition to the forgotten island of Clipperton in March 2011.

The participants will then produce work based on the history of the atoll (specifically Mexico’s damned colony of 1917) and its ecological, geological and human history in order to paint a cross-cultural portrayal of this unique island in the middle of the Pacific, displaying its work at some of the most important forums in these countries between 2011 and 2014.