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Icelandic future dimensions

projects by Syntia

The exhibition Parallel Dimensions I / II brings together 25 leading contemporary Icelandic artists and innovators to highlight a diversity of media and materials. It is held at the Felleshus of the Nordic Embassies in Berlin and is ongoing from 10.02.2022 till 01.31.2024.

Developing technology has changed the way artists work, presenting more possibilities and diverse ways of exploring the creative space. A common thread among the works on view is the experimentation with time, space, perception, and material as well as a cross-disciplinary approach and an understanding of structures and systems belonging to distant domains, says curator Ásdís Spanó.

We live in a time of wireless guides, abstract codes and mathematical models that shape human’s interaction with the environment. How we perceive and define our surroundings is partly influenced by the data which we come across- smart devices, wireless internet and accessible technology.

The effects of speedy technological changes on the present are widely seen, and questions about how technology can be used for increased prosperity and welfare are constantly being discussed. We face global warming, fluctuating economic systems and crowded cities where technology is meant to lead us towards better solutions and a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

“Our future is determined by the ability to innovate and generations who are not afraid pushing the boundaries, asking difficult questions and having a voice.”

The Rare Metal Age

In the Rare Metal Age, Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir collaborated with scientists from the Royal Institute for Sea Research in the Netherlands, to show the urgent subject of mining in the deep sea and the future resources. It explores the challenges and complexities that lie ahead and allows us a closer look into the natural elements that shape a significant share in our economy.

The seabed mining world map exhibits the exploration zones, areas of potential economic interest and areas of nodule occurrences around the globe. These nodules contain desirable metals and are found in deep seas that often sit on top of delicate sediments. The demand for such metals has skyrocketed in proportion to their increasing importance in our daily lives, the increasing demand for green energy sources, and the declining availability of them on land. These conditions have renewed the interest of large corporations in deep-sea mining in areas that include territories outside of the jurisdiction of states.

Disruption of the seabed by sea mining will damage ecosystems, disrupting the natural process of carbon sequestration and thus leading to rising global temperatures. The aim of this project is to shed light on this industry and the importance of the ocean, for the well-being of the planet and humanity now and in the future.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/367232848?color=000000&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 https://annadiljasigurdar.com/The-Rare-Metal-Age

The Plant Printer

THE PLANT PRINTER is a machine that acts and grows like a hanging plant. Equipped with a thermal printer and a light sensor, it runs on electricity and is controlled by light amount. Each day, a few centimeters of the generative plant are slowly printed on the paper tape. The amount of light dictates how many and how big the leaves on the plant grow. Between days, progress can be seen on the printout, as the light changes with day and night. This inorganic plant helps us understand time in longer intervals than minutes and hours, and logs the progress of our lives at the same time. We can see life itself progress on the paper tape, reminding us to pause for a bit and enjoy the moment.

Inorganic.Design is an online collection of artwork by Icelandic artist Halldór Eldjárn. In his work he strives to combine mediums, by introducing technology into the artistic process, using algorithms to generate artwork and creating installations of machines that self-produce new artwork. https://hdor.is/


The project SHAPE.REPEAT by Valdís Steinars initiates a discourse centered around clothing fabrication techniques. In contrast to traditional practices involving pattern cutting, this innovative approach involves shaping natural liquid materials into two-dimensional forms. Addressing a major concern, the fashion industry contributes to an annual textile waste of approximately 60 billion square meters. However, this approach obviates the generation of surplus cuttings, allowing for precise material allocation.

Valdís Steinars underscores the significance of continual societal reevaluation. This novel clothing production method profoundly challenges the status quo, urging us to pause and reconsider prevailing manufacturing norms. https://valdissteinars.com/


Skriða, 2021, Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir

Skriða consists of audio work and an installation. The work is based on data from the Meteorological Office about the geological transformation that occurred in December 2020 when a landslide fell from the mountain above the town of Seyðisfjordur, pushing buildings out into the sea. This event had a huge impact on the community and a permanent impact on the town’s appearance. This is one of the biggest landslides to fall in Iceland.

The installation includes rocks that Gunnhildur retrieved from the wound which the landslide left in the mountain. In the installation the rocks are suspended in the air, hung in satin ribbons that form pendulums. They are surrounded by recorded sounds of Borgar Ao’s doubble bass. https://www.gunnhildur.this.is/skrida

Magnetic Harp / Segulharpa - Úlfur

The Segulharpa is an electromagnetic acoustic instrument, created by Úlfur Hansson. Its unique sound comes from the merging of two worlds, the electronic and the acoustic. The player can shift the vibrational patterns between harmonic intervals, so each string is able to produce high or low pitched sounds, depending on how hard the player presses a given key. The sensors are illuminated with brilliant white lights, glowing brighter as the player presses harder down on the surface. The vibrations are carried through the circular harp, so that the strings have influence over each other, creating a kind of eco-system where no two chords will share the exact same sound. It is also possible to channel external audio through the instrument, generating lush reverberant tones as the strings resonate with the input signal. https://ulfurhansson.com/Magnetic-Harp-Segulharpa

Uncontainable truth

María Dalberg’s film Uncontainable Truth (2021) investigates the fate of Icelandic working women in the 16th-19th century. These women performed hard labour. They walked kilometers over frozen landscapes to beat and scrub their master’s clothes, cared for grazing animals in all weather conditions, and performed other strenuous physical tasks. They belong to subaltern classes of illiterate and landless people tied to the land.

Dulsmál are criminal cases in which a woman hides her pregnancy and the birth of her child. The child either dies of exposure to the elements or negligence. Two Icelandic laws were formalized in 16th-17th century. These laws say that every woman that kills her child should get the death penalty, even if she claims to have borne a lifeless child.

Dalberg works with embodied history to channel the words of women that have been lost. Dalberg’s film is taken from 5 testimonies of 16th-19th century women and aims to give them back the voices that they were consistently denied, the film brings their names to light through spoken stories recorded in old manuscripts and other contemporary sources.

Participating artists:

Elín Hansdóttir, Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir, Hrafnkell Sigurðsson, Kolbeinn Hugi Höskuldsson, María Dalberg, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sigurður Guðjónsson, Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir, Halldór Eldjárn, Kjartan Ólafsson, Úlfur Hansson, Valdís Steinars FÓLK Reykjavík: Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson, Ólína Rögnudóttir, Tinna Gunnarsdóttir, Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir, Stúdíó Flétta