Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hmm, Very Interesting Part 2…My Icelandic Favorites


I took in a lot of Icelandic culture in my short time there and I've continued to pay serious attention since I left. I know I've barely scratched the surface even now and the following list is just a small part of what I have discovered. Here are my favorites, so far…

Jewelry, Art and Design

STAKA, a collaboration between product designers Bylgja Svansdóttir and María Kristín Jónsdóttir, is a collection of sculptural, leather neckpieces inspired by the Icelandic Sagas. I also love Thread by María Kristín Jónsdóttir. (below image)

Ragnar Kjartansson is a perforation artist and I became interested in his work after learning about "A Lot of Sorrow," a collaborative project with The National. The National performed the song "Sorrow" repeatedly for six hours at Moma PS1. When I watched the video on the Louisiana Channel, I read the accompanying text and was captivated by this quote, "By stretching a single pop song into a day-long tour de force Kjartansson continues his explorations into the potential of repetitive performance to produce sculptural presence within sound." It's that part about giving a sculptural quality to sound that gave me pause and I can't stop thinking about it. Watching this performance led me to watch every video I could find of his work on the internet. 

Ragnheiður Harpa is also a performance artist, using music, video and installation in her thoughtful pieces. Her projects focus on identity, memory and moments, among others. There is a lightness and warmth to her work that I find very appealing.

Halldór Ragnarsson is a visual artist using text, collage, illustration, layering, and installation. I did not discover his work until after I had left, but hope to see it when I return this year. I am very interested in his how he mixes mainly 2D elements to create space. 

Thórunn Árnadóttir is doing all sorts of interesting projects including this dress,"QR U?" Graphic codes beaded onto the dress transmit information to an app that can then translate the data into visual information or text. I wrote about Thórunn's Sasa Clock a few months ago.

Sruli Recht is a clothing designer who uses some rather unconventional and perhaps controversial materials in his work. I am very interested in the sculptural aspect of his work, like the one I have pictured here. 

My favorite galleries in Reykjavík are Spark Design Space and i8. I got to see some great shows at both places, including a show of Ólafur Elíasson's at i8. Spark Design also introduced me to the work of Siggi Eggertsson and his astounding illustration. (above image). I also love visiting the Icelandic Design Center Blog for posts on current design and their fantastic guides to Icelandic design and designers.

Graffiti and Street Art

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Reykjavík was search for graffiti and street art. I saw the work of Sara Riel around the city and have a nice collection of images now. For more about graffiti in
Reykjavík, you can visit Graffiti Reykjavík on Facebook.


Samaris - Góða Tungl

Samaris, an electronic band with beautiful vocals, is my favorite music discovery, and the bands' singer, Jófríður Ákadóttir, is most definitely my new favorite singer. Her ethereal voice is just incredible and she's only 19 or 20. She's also a part of Pascal Pinon, another Icelandic band I love. 

I've been a Sigur Rós  fan for awhile and my trip to Iceland made me love them more. Over the summer I rewatched Heima, a documentary about a tour from a few years ago. It includes great performances and beautiful views of the landscape. You can watch the whole thing on Vimeo.

Iceland Airwaves is a huge music festival that happens in Reykjavík in November and I hope to go one day... in the meantime, I will continue to visit the website and follow the coverage on the internet. You can download the "Fancy Iceland Airwaves Compilation 2013," a mix of music from Airwaves 2013 on the Grapevine website. It takes awhile to download because it's 49 songs long, but it's totally worth it. And, while you're there, be sure to check out the Grapevine itself for all kinds of good stuff about Iceland. I really love that paper.


Finally, you must know by now how much I love looking at maps…This hand drawn map of Reykjavík by Borgarmynd was my true companion while I lived there.

What a pleasure it is to share these with you. Please take a look! And as always, thanks for reading.

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