Archives: July 2012

LungA art festival – #Day 2 music workshop

I sat down with Úlfur Hansson (musician) and Arnljótur Sigurðsson (artist) in what seemed like the only lull of the day and when I say lull I mean that those guys where only being bothered by me and a handful of other people who would come through the door, ask a question and exit with the needed information to continue working. It’s the day before the exhibition and the last day of full and unadulterated work, no wonder it’s hectic.

This is the music and instrument creation workshop, am I right?

Yes, it’s called Expansion of the Oscillators.

That being both the name and direction of the workshop?

Úlfur: In brief this workshop is a festival and feast of sound, the idea is to open the ears and eyes of the participant to the soundscapes that surrounds them in day to day life and to the harmonics that are found in all spaces and nature.

Arnljótur: There has also been a discussion on sound from a conceptual and aesthetic perspective.

Úlfur: In the process of discussing these things, ideas have materialized that have then been realized in the creation of particular sound, tones and these oscillating instruments, which we have been building throughout the week.

So in order for me to understand you, this isn’t just a hands on create your own noise machine workshop, this is also probing look into how you interact with sound?

Úlfur: We are trying to turn on the metaphorical light bulb in their heads.

Arnljótur: People think of sound as something they hear, but not something they perceive. When in fact it is so much more. There is a universal sound in the multiverse that we have been trying to guide them towards.

Can you tell us more of this universal harmonic?

Úlfur: There are vibrations in everything, that in and of it self is a crazy enough concept to spark a religion.

At this point as we are interrupted again, this time they need to answer questions about their collaboration with the dance workshop in the exhibition. Everything seems to be in a state of flux, but very much in a good way. There are possibilities to be realized.

How many participants are in your group?

Úlfur: It has fluctuated through the week,with the volunteers coming in and taking part, but all in all the group is around thirteen people.

How have you structured the workshop?

Arnljótur: We had predetermined parts of the program, but a lot of it has been structured around what everyone wants to do.

Úlfur: We have then tried to help each individual on their own path, in no way telling them what to do, but to try and open up as many possibilities and directions as possible.

Arnljótur: They are immensely fertile and productive. What they have achieved in a week is just astonishing.

This wonderful house, is it empty between festivals?

Úlfur: Björt LungA and her friends from Denmark own this house. In the wintertime it’s an artist residence that you can rent to work and live in. In the summertime it’s used for workshops and the like.

Arnljótur: Funnily enough this is but one of many artists residences in Seyðisfjörður. There is a longstanding tradition of artists coming here to work, stretching back to Dieter Roth.

How did it transpire that you started working together and did you approach LungA with this idea?

Úlfur: I was asked if I was willing to come and run this seminar and of course I said yes, without really knowing what I wanted to do. For the longest time Arnljótur and me have intended to work together on something, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity and it just clicked and worked really well.

Arnljótur: Finally we are working together and we’re well chuffed.

Further collaboration?

Arnljótur: In the work beforehand and throughout the process of running the workshop we have taught ourselves quite a lot, we have broken everything apart analyzed it and in reassembling begun to get a deeper understand.

Úlfur: It’s insane how much you learn form teaching others.

Arnljótur: You can’t do this if you haven’t thought it out and applied reason to what you are doing. You’ll be caught out if what you’re saying is bullshit. In disassembling and analyzing you learn more. The worst part for me is not being able to be a participant. Given the time, we’ll undoubtedly take this project further.

Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photographs: Nanna Dís


LungA art festival 2012 – #Day 2

Our second day at LungA was dedicated to independent exhibitions and performances, which where held in various locations, dotted around town. Most artists showed work that they had been working on during the week, but some pieces had been worked on during a longer period of time.

The first event we attended, was an off-venue venture, an exhibition of work by five artists in an abandoned former bakery. Fittingly, when we got to the house, a young girl was handing out delicious warm home baked rhubarb muffins. When you got in the house however, you were greeted by a strong smell of anise seed, as one of the pieces was a room full of the Angelica plant, where a tent had been pitched in the middle. Within it sat a hippie like figure, humming and strumming a guitar.

Other pieces in the exhibition also had a happening feel to them, couple of simple sound works, a room where it said, it´s a little chilli outside, where the was actually a chilli hanging outside the window, and an stolen object, which was an actual stolen art piece from another exhibition at LungA, where the original artist, ended up coming to reclaim his artwork from the “new” artist.

The official program, was opened by a performance by Ása Dýradóttir and Karl Torsten Stallborn named The Hill Is Alive. The artists where placed at a little island in what the locals call “the lagoon”. The performance was in essence a ritual of both sound and fire, and in the end the hill woke up and replied.

After the performance, the other exhibitions opened. We had a quick stop at Árni Már Erlingssons and Sigurður Atli Sigurðssons exhibition Be Right Back, The Studio Is Closed. This time they where in, and the studio was chock full of people. We were lucky enough to have had snooped around them earlier in the day, and got a special class in DIY lithography, which will be the focus of an whole different article here on Snoop.

Next stop, was Harpa Einarsdóttir/ Ziska exhibition titled Instant ReflectionsTake Out The Trash! which was the cleanest cut exhibition of the ones we visited. Harpas world is certainly a very vivid one, full of ancient versus modern symbolism, colours and lines and are reminiscent of a wild occult space world, which you can only glimpse through Harpas artwork.

The last exhibition we visited was Rögnvaldur Skúli Árnasons, So What Do You Think?. His exhibition was set in a oddly washed out red house, which apparently had been left almost untouched by the owners, who took up and moved to different towns a few years earlier. Aptly the exhibition was in the living room, where Skúli showed new oil paintings, made during the week at LungA. The small paintings, which were brilliant little studies of moments that had happened during the last week in Seyðisfjörður, including subjects like fellow artist, Árni Már, Seyðisfjörður it self and it´s scenery.

Last on the tour, was Byssukisis performance at the edge of town, where a group of people under enormous white sheet, moving to the beat of rocks being thrown at massive oil tanks. The event ended in the group jumping into the ocean after having sprayed furiously through the sheet and in the process covered themselves in brown paint.

Our night ended at the screening of the dance and music film Girl Walk // All Day by director Jacob Krupnick set to the music mash up from Dj Girl Walk. At the beginning the presenter said that there where only two prerequisites for them to show the film, which was that they needed to have an powerful sound system, which they certainly did, and there need to be a dance floor if the need to dance would catch the audience. We were happy too see the normally reserved Icelanders, all getting up and dancing through the whole movie!

Text: Erla Björk
Photographs: Nanna Dís

LungA art festival 2012 – #Day 1

The Snoop-Around team was so fortunate to be invited to the LungA Art Festival in the picturesque town of Seyðisfjörður in eastern Iceland.

LungAs mission is to give young people opportunities to explore their artistic abilities and to widen their horizons, be it through workshops, exhibitions, collaborations with working artists or concerts. LungA was founded in 2000 and has been growing year from year.

The workshops run during the week and conclude in final shows on Saturday, which are dotted around town. The workshops cover a wide range of fantastically interesting subjects using mediums such as dance, photography, sound and happenings. Friday is dedicated to independent artists exhibitions and openings and the whole event culminates in big outdoor concerts on Saturday.

Yesterday Snoop-Around attended a fashion exhibition that was located in an abandoned warehouse type of a place at the edge of town. Their five fashion designers had set up installations of their work. We especially liked the installation by Sunna Örlygsdóttir, who had made a surreal oasis with a few potted plants and an oriental rug where four models stood. Sunnas designs where mainly composed of stiff, painted jackets but contrasted by soft pieces underneath.

Upstairs there we found work by Claire de Quénetain, who showed intricately woven pieces made of a foamy sort of a material that was held together by weaving techniques and safety pins. The garments shapes reminded us of a kind of an urban warrior theme, although the garments could be translated to wearable garments or accessories.

Today we will explore Seyðisfjörður some more; the town itself is set in a picturesque fjord at the edge of the east coast of Iceland. The town is surrounded by massive mountains on all sides that make it really cosy and comfortable for those who are not claustrophobic by nature.

Text: Erla Björk
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Tinna Ottesen

On a delightful sunny Saturday we visited Tinna Ottesen a production designer and scenographer in 101 Reykjavík. We sat down with her in her apartment with a latte and dark chocolate delicacies to learn about her artistry, the life in Denmark, her experience and future projects.

NEO-GEO – Underwater concerts

I heard that you started by studying design, what was the deciding factor?

It was very random actually; there was never a certain point in my life that I thought to myself that this is what I wanted to do. Actually, I just applied for the first thing I found online, that was Denmark’s Design School and thankfully I got in the department of digital design, which I thought was very interesting at that time. After one year, I changed my mind and switched to the department of visual communication.

Well, that was not all because once we had a cooperation with the Danish Film School, I got to study there also with the documentary department, and at that point I was there as a guest student for a couple of years studying production design. I had no academic background in art, but I found my path quickly.

Where you an artistic teenager?

Yes, I took courses here and there in art, but as a teenager I did a lot of stuff that I replicated later on in life, for example the underwater concerts in a group called Neo Geo. I always had something creative going on. It is a process coming out of the closet as an artist here in Iceland, you have to earn your spot as an artist before you can call yourself an artist, do you know what I mean? So it is an establishing factor, I feel like that is the rule here.


How was life after graduation?

The first thing I did actually when I finished my education was my husband’s graduation film, we have always worked together in all sorts of projects. We built a pier in the studio for that project, I am always thinking about spaces, the set of things. I think it’s about the process, you research until you find a concept, it’s all about the process but processing itself is also very important, and that is also a part of the process of course. Now I sound very complicated. But this is necessary for my work, creativity and the process of the projects.

But well, after graduation I participated in an architectural competition and other artistic collaborations. Every time you work with new people you get to experience a new energy and you learn so much from it. For example when I designed the stage in the Roskilde festival in Denmark, I got to know Haukur Þórðarson, architect, and we are designing a stage together for a project called Kræklingurinn, shown next year.

How does it feel being an artist in Iceland?

When I came back from Denmark one and a half year ago, I booked meetings with people from the artistic industry and tried to introduce myself here in Iceland, it’s like a snowball, one project leads to something new and different. I earned the attention of course, but somehow it is about meeting new people and become a part of the community here in Iceland. I don’t feel like this is a competitive community actually, It feels more like everybody is trying to help each other with projects and connectivity.

Even though it was hard to be away for such a long time, I lived in Denmark for 10 years, it was very easy to come back.

Still from the tv program Heimsendir

Heimsendir, the Icelandic TV series, we are excited to hear more about that…

Ohh, that project was really exciting for me actually. I got to dissect the script to its fullest to get the overview and came up with these three different worlds for the series.

“It touches the soul to see something beautiful”

The dream is for the future to choose cinematic projects that have those possibilities for blending the theatre into the production design. Heimsendir was pretty close to that, it is always nice to create a set that can stand on its own, as a piece of art. Taking stills from those sets has a poem like effect and people do think they are beautiful.

Yeah, so the thing for random things in the props department for TV productions is not sufficient enough?

The thing is that sometimes they over prop projects, just to hide that there was no preparation or a special theme for the set. Everybody is so on it to fix up some things, so that they get a lot of stuff, randomly thrown together. Also this happens a lot in TV sets, they sometimes are thinking very three dimensional, and then the visuals are presented in the two dimensional TV set then it really shows that they haven’t been thinking about this properly. So I think it’s very important to have collaborative production designers department.

You have also participated in the documentary festival scene here in Iceland?

Yes, my husband and I have been artistic directors, for the second year in a row, at the documentary film festival in the West part of the island. There are around 20 premiere screenings annually of Icelandic documentaries at the festival. Although this is an industry festival, it’s also a large Icelandic party, but people talk about documentary for three days, drink beer and feast on seafood in the beautiful town of Patreksfjörður.

We always have a guest of honor at the festival because we want to push the boundaries of the festival. This year we invited Max Kestner who makes films with real people but in real produced scenes in his documentary films. We were trying to push the boundaries more than usual, so we could create a field of discussion in Iceland. There is something that happens when you attend this environment of academic discussion with four beers in your stomach, this is the Icelandic way of mingling. There is a core of people within the Icelandic documentary scene that turns up year after year so this is a very important festival and get-to-gather for Icelandic filmmakers.

What inspires your work?

My computer is full of photographs of this and that that inspire me. It’s also very good to have the camera on you, so you can capture different things when you’re out and about, so you end up with maybe 30 gigabytes of colors and forms that you refer to in your work. The influence bank is always receiving materials and changes as time goes by.

“there were around 90 plays last year and ten films”

I have been watching documentaries and movies in general, there is so much development in documentary filmmaking nowadays, the experimental sector is still so fresh, and people are always doing something new.

There is so much productivity here in Iceland, in arts, there were around 90 plays last year and ten films. In comparison there were around 10 feature films produced in Poland last year where 38 million people live.

You’re It – #2/Tinna Ottesen & Janus Bragi Jakobsson for Aldrei fór ég suður & inspired by Iceland

Is the production of “reality” portraying the truth in documentary filmmaking?

No never. The thing with both fictional and documentary filmmaking is that the director is telling a story. The space is always somewhat of a production as well, even though you are at somebody’s house you are tweaking things around, the backstage and the visual is always so important for the storytelling.

Where do you work, do you have a studio?

I share a small working studio at Grandi, by the harbor, which I actually share with three other women. But my dream would be to have a giant house, just beside my house, where I could spread out all over the place.

So are you collector?

I try to watch out not to collect too much, if I find something interesting I try to give it away to somebody else for example to RUV the national television stations props storage or to Embla stacks where Júlía has her props storage, where other people can use it, so I can maybe access it again. I don’t dare to start to collect props. Then you have someplace, which works like a spare valve.

So have you ever found something amazing, that you wouldn’t dare to throw away?

I can tell you about something, yeah; when I was out in the country I found sooo many old phonebooks from 1940´s. The official institutions are very professional in what they do concerning the preserving of things, but they have so little space. RUV for example is such a good official service for all the film industry; their workers are so nice and helpful.

“Somebody’s uncle that knows someone that knows someone else that has a certain sort of stone museum”

But if you’re looking for something specific, you could always call somebody, or someone that knows something about this and within an hour you have sorted it out. Somebody’s uncle that knows someone that knows someone else that has a certain sort of stone museum. But sometimes it takes a month to get some one little thing. But usually it’s the other way around.

Lastly, what are you up to now?

I am working with actress Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir on producing a project called the Norður that we will open next year. We are traveling to Faeroe Island, Greenland & Denmark and get artist from these countries to contribute to our project, it will be a portable stage production. Margrét always wants to produce something big; she wants to have a helicopter and huge ships and over 50 people involved. The stories will walk on the shores; each artist can only work with a artist from another country.

Another project is building with Haukur Þórðarson this floating stage in the harbor area, for the project Kræklingurinn, where there will be some kind of a monster coming up from the sea. I have actually many more projects in the pipes that are unconfirmed.

So how is life always on the run?

Well my advice is to enjoy the people that you meet, that you take time to talk and listen to people´s experiences, that you show that you appreciate when they do things for you, in my case lending me stuff, for example props.

I also recently moved here to this great apartment, where I have a garden so I also try to enjoy non-work related things. I am growing cabbage and planting other things, which I absolutely love. I think it’s necessary when you work so much with your head and in the computer that you don’t forget about the meditation of working with your body. I also have a grill in my garden that my father made. He actually built it for my mother, out of barrels. There is a rail that is connected to a motor, so it turns inside. I can grill around five legs of lambs in each one of those.

I used the grill at my tenth year wedding anniversary the other day, my father moved the grill to my house so we could grill lambs for dinner.

We went outside in the garden for a short while, where Tinna showed us her grill and her growing cabbage that is flourishing in a little square of her garden. We left this peaceful place, remembering her strong presence, wishing her a bright future producing sets in all sorts of mediums. Tinna will surely be one of the production designers to watch out for in the future.

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Fur Trade

Snoop-Around interviews creators of Fur Trade for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #10 13.7.2012
This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

In a swanky office at Jónsson & Le’macks we sit down with Sigurður Oddsson. We’re here to talk to him about Holster, a joint venture by three young men who all work in the creative fields and have come together to form a fashion company called Fur Trade, that is in fact not a fashion company.


Siggi Odds., Bóas & Jökull Sólberg

What brought on this project and how do you three know each other?

Well we all are good friends, I had been working with Bóas Kristjánsson, fashion designer, whom has his own label called 8045 and the idea came up that I‘d work on some accessories, not fashion per say, but more product orientated. The idea originated in Jökull Sólberg the third member of the group, coming into work wearing an actual shoulder gun-holster, he wasn’t armed or anything but it definitely gave me ideas for a more practical application, and that got me sketching. So that’s where the idea comes from. My reasoning being that in the summertime men like to wear shorts and a T-shirt but where do you put your keys, change and wallet? The Holster is a solution. That was what I presented to Bóas and funnily enough he had been working on something similar but from the angle of a more classical vest, we merged these two ideas into what is now the Holster.

It’s a bit like the Swiss army knife of clothing?

That is true, we tried to integrate as much as we could into the design, take your phone for instance, often you’ll have earphones plugged in and they just get tangled up in everything. That’s why we put a handy cord slit high on the shoulder, where you can fasten it and it won’t get in the way. All the pockets are designed for their individual tasks, for your phone, sunglasses and wallet so that it doesn’t bulge but blends seamlessly into the design. All the material used, black caribou, lamb, salmon and rosefish leather, comes from a leather factory here in Iceland, in the north to be specific, but everything is sewed in Reykjavík.

“I mean if you can have a gun there and no one notices it, then a phone is a piece of cake”

Do you feel the need has arisen from a greater accessorisation of men?

Men just have more stuff now, and when you’ve grown accustomed to trudging everything around with you, it’s pretty hard to do without it. When kept in the Holster your stuff blend seamlessly into your attire. It looks good on its own as well as under a jacket, and it takes form the shoulder holster the idea of using dead space under the arms so that you don’t really notice it if concealed, and doesn’t get in the way. I mean if you can have a gun there and no one notices it, then a phone is a piece of cake.

You launched the company in March?

Yes, that’s when we launched the website and the product. It’s been a steady rise since then, and we´re are focusing on the global market. Two weeks ago Sævar Karl started selling the product so we are really excited about that. It’s always good to have a place where people can drop into when they’re unsure about the size or the material. At first the sales were to friends and online, the funny thing though was that when the site went live at around 05 in the morning, the night before Design March, we got an order from Sweden within the first hour. We had posted a link on Facebook and a friend of a friend of a friend ordered the first one, it really is a small world!

For further information:

Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photograph: Nanna Dís


Hand plays

The visual artist Marc Ferrante is an interesting up and coming artist, has throughout the years made projects out of 100 X-rays of the hand that he made with the help of radiologist, surgeons and X-ray technicians, puppeteers, dancers, magicians, shadow- puppetry artists. The images are digital prints printed displayed on stainless steel light boxes. He intends to point out that the X-ray is portraying the vibrant complexity of the being, and are initially complex, while one looks at the concept of “the self”.

Shadow play series
One of his first series was an X-ray practice, similar to a cave where the forms turn into shadows on a wall, which is a reminder of radiologists experience, since they are led to check negatives on what will be X-rayed.

mephisto, devil

Objects theatre series
Here the artist Ferrante focused on the relationship of values by playing with stereotypes, cultural conventions by comparing different types of images that can be interpreted with a medical, folkloric or archaic focus. Many of the images in his series are made by collaboration with other artists, for example from the theatre.

chripata 02

Hand dancing series
The dances of hands are a portrait of the hands ability to grasp the void or time, simulating the analysis of movements. His intention was to refer to the movement of dancers rituals to reparative moves.

Danse, dph 01

Modified presence series
Here the artist experiments with mixing up recent technologies, inspired by Méliès, Moholy-Nagy and many other, wanting to disturb the usual perceptive constraints brought about by standardized readings, photography, 3D imaging and so forth.

Peau 01, skin 01 (sloughing)

Skin series
The skin is the most notable missing constituent re-emerges in this series to add sensuality.
Skin and bones superimpose then split in paradoxical spaces that no software or digital medical equipment has been able to generate so far. It is clear that there are several relative levels of transparency and that the X-ray photograph has been used at a high level of opacity.

Transparente 07, transparent skin (without bone) 07

Ergon series
In this series the artist materialized the vacuum between two hands, by X-raying the things the machines can normally not catch. Radiography is here a matter of sculpture, portraying the third dimension.

Ergon 08

Be sure to learn more about the visual artist Marc Ferrante,
based in Strasbourg.

Sævar Markús

Snoop-Around interviews fashion designer Sævar Markús for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #9 15.6.2012
This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

Sævar Markús’ first line, a small collection of silk accessories inspired by Romanian folklore, sold out in only a fortnight. He’s now getting ready to debut his men’s and women’s wear collections this fall, which feature androgynous tailored pieces mixed with silk dresses for women and printed shirts with detailed patterns for men. We met the fashion designer at his studio on Laugavegur to find out more about this work and how his background as an artist shapes his designs.


You studied art before going into fashion?

Yes, I originally studied art and art history. However, I became interested in fashion when I went to Paris to work with a group of visual artists. They were doing a lot of multimedia art and some performances, and I was making costumes. It was really through a collaboration with the fashion house Agnés B, when I was working in their space and going through their fabric collection, that I really decided to go into fashion.

“grabbing bits from here and there, like a moment in a film,
just a few seconds, that makes you go “wow, that’s something.”

Does your background in art come into play when you’re designing?

It does, as my field of interest is so broad. I really enjoy researching and finding inspiration from wide variety of sources, such as literature, antiques, art or films. I like grabbing bits from here and there, like a moment in a film, just a few seconds, that makes you go “wow, that’s something.” In the end all this research comes together in a big database that I can then work from.

Did something in particular inspire your new fall/winter collection?

I was inspired by Art Brut where artists that may not be traditionally educated often work from a naive perspective. I was also deeply inspired by Czech and British new wave films from the sixties.

The cut of the garments is mostly androgynous; the classic tailored pieces are sized to fit both sexes. Some things like the dresses and ladies shirts, are extremely feminine though, and are made from feminine fabric like chiffon. One dress in particular is dedicated to the singer of Broadcast, Trish Keenan, who I’ve always felt a strong connection to.

How would you describe your design, is there a singular concept?

I would say it’s very classical, at least the cut. I like classical tailoring and want garments to be well made and cut. This collection was mostly inspired by art, but next summer I will be working with florals and Finland for example. It’s mainly classic looks, but is heavily infused with what I’m inspired by at that moment.

What’s it like to start your brand in Iceland?

The market is small and it is a lot of work. It’s expensive to import fabrics and you can at most hire a seamstress to help out when it’s really busy. You have a lot on your plate at any given time. But I’m just starting out, so all the work is on me at the moment. However the good thing about working here is that you can try things out, taking one step at a time. And in the end, you never know what’s going to happen!

Find Sævar Markús here:

Interview: Erla Björk Baldursdóttir
Photograph: Nanna Dís