first five days in Iceland

Thursday 1st

flew in > caught the bus to the hostel > wandered the city and drank a coffee > early night

Friday 2nd

This morning I arrived at the SIM residency in Korpúlfsstaðir, which is located on the outskirts of Reyjavik.  It was formerly one of the largest dairy farms, and is now home to a variety of artist studios and a golf club.  I spent the day unpacking and getting to know the other studio residents that I'll be living alongside for the month.

Saturday 3rd

I spent the day in the city, wanting to become familiar with the local galleries.  I checked out a gallery called i8, which had an exhibition that I really enjoyed.  The space was covered in wallpaper that was printed with strange characters in primary colours, which I was told was coded and contained several of the artists secrets.  Small cast bronze ledges were screwed into the wall, and held small everyday objects such as screws, gum, cardboard pieces, a cherry tied into a knot.  These small ledges blended into the wallpaper from a distance, and it was exciting to discover these objects embedded into the wall.

I then walked to Markethouse, a fresh gallery/restaurant space that held both Kling and Bang studios and The Living Art Museum.  It's located by the old harbour in downtown Reyjavik.

I spent the afternoon at an exhibition opening at Reyjavik Art Museum, which was holding a retrospective exhibition God: I Feel So Bad of well-known Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson.  At the gallery shop I found an interesting book called 'Scarcity in Excess: The Built Environment and the Economic Crisis in Iceland' which gives an interesting insight into Iceland's struggle during the 2007 economic crisis and how this has shaped the built landscape today.

Sunday 4th

Today I was feeling a little weary (I think the long trip over had started to take its toll) so I had a quiet morning and then went for a walk around the local area.  The studio is surrounded by one of the most popular golf courses in Reyjavik (people were even playing golf at midnight last night because it's light all the time).  It was interesting seeing the highly manicured golf courses, set against Mount Esja, which is a rugged and snow-capped mountain.  It's such a beautiful view, and it seemed striking to have this highly constructed landscape against such an organic land form.

I did some more reading after dinner, and did some research into Bianca Hester's practice who positions sculpture as a proliferating event within her practice.  I think it might be nice to use this time to make experimental work that is active beyond the studio space.

Monday 5th

This morning I woke up early and went for a little walk around the building.  I did a rubbing of a crack in one of the walls, thinking of these cracks as revealing structural/geological movement.  I then started to think about the tension between humans and landscape, both in Iceland in Australia.  I was thinking about mining in Australia, and also the way geothermal energy is harnessed here in Iceland.  I'm really interested in this social/economic relationship between humans and geological forms, and the ways we are both vulnerable to these forces whilst also attempting to utilise them for industry.

This afternoon my residency buddies and I caught the bus to a local geothermal pool, which was a nice place to think about geology and people.  There were several hot tubs there of varying temperatures, varying from 38-42 degrees Celsius (there was one pool that was 6-8 degrees celcius which was very refreshing but hard to stay in longer than a few seconds.)  There was also a lap pool, where I realised how much I miss swimming and would like to get back into it at home.  The feeling of weightlessness is something I'd like to explore maybe in some of my works.  There is something about the relief of floating in water that is a reoccurring interest to me.  This idea also came to mind when I watched some pumice stones floating in water at the Volcano House in downtown Reyjavik.