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