Iceland Artist Residency Journal

 

         A collection of moments from my residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland.

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 Iceland residency week one:

The plane landed in a snowstorm. I spent the night in Reykjavik and then took a bus through endless sky and giant mountains to the residency. Skagaströnd is a remote fishing village where I’m living in a large white house with other artists. In front of the house: the ocean and a mysterious triangular church where I took field recordings of a night choir. Behind: more giant mountains. At night I write and record alone in the local music school. I have three song sketches.

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Iceland residency week two:

I began building and recording instruments alongside a painter named Jesse Keating. They are made from found materials: burnt wood, an oil drum, bones, metal, hot air. We drone through the night. I went to a river in Blönduós and recorded water and wildlife. My fortune was read from a stone: “don’t scratch the wound”. I have six song sketches.

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Iceland residency week three:

I focused in on my collaboration with Jesse Keating–we recorded our sculptural instruments and I bent the noises into song form with my computer. We created a 14 minute video projection loop using digitally manipulated footage of desolate Northern Iceland to accompany the sound. On Sunday we opened our installation to the public of Skagaströnd and later performed: ‘Fog Storm’.

We have been asked to play in the neighboring city of Blönduós at an art event called Hérna! Núna! on Friday. We play at Gamli Kirkjan, which just means Old Church (the space is actually a decommissioned church, perfect for sound).

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Fog Storm Statement and Performance Information: 

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Iceland residency weeks 4 and 5:

Spákonufell is the mountain that watches over Skagaströnd. Every day as I leave the studio I look up and the mountain tells me that I’m far from home. A little over a week ago I climbed Spákonufell. At the top is a large flat stretch of land enveloped in a thick cloud. The ground is white, iced over. The space up there is alien and separate from the world; while walking around I experienced a strong feeling of detachment.
Jesse and I performed ‘Fog Storm’ in the old church and then he packed up and left a few days later. I’ve spent my final week here working intently, organizing all of my footage and field recordings, and trying to make sense of everything. During this five week residency I wrote and recorded ten song sketches, played two shows, and collaboratively built instruments used to create a 14 minute sound/video art piece. I’m not ready to leave.

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Norway:

I went to Helvete–something I’ve been wanting to do for about 12 years–and got to explore the infamous basement. The woman working the shop told me some funny anecdotes about buying records from Euronymous as a teenager.
I saw some really intense art at both The National Gallery and Astrup Fearnley.
Oslo reminds me of Portland in a way I can’t place. I haven’t spent enough time here. I head home tomorrow but I definitely plan on coming back.

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