It’s been a while since I’ve posted and in that time I’ve had many projects on the go. I returned to Listhus Artspace in Ólafsfirði this May to continue the research creation project I started last fall. As is the case with much narrative research, my original vision for the project has shifted as a result of conversations with people here, both fellow artists at the residency and local residents of the village. One collaboration – between myself and local poet and photographer Ingi Þór Reyndal – took shape over the past few weeks. We have an exhibit opening May 28 at Kaffi Klara, a popular coffee shop in town that is located in the site of the former post office. I’ll write a longer entry about the ideas behind this collaborative project in the weeks to come, but for now I want to post the images and text that make up the core of the work.

Verkefnið fjallar um íslenska náttúru, mannlíf, heimili og horfið mannlíf ásamt fleiru, frátveimur mismunandi sjónarhornum: heimamanns og gests. Myndir með ljóðum og texta. Verkefnið er afrakstur af sameiginlegri reynslu okkar í göngum. samræðum og vináttu.

The project explores the Icelandic landscape from two different perspectives: a resident and a visitor. Combining images with poetry and text, the project is a culmination of our shared experiences of walking, talking and friendship. Ingi Þór Reyndal has worked as an offset printer, sailor, and teacher. He is currently a poet, lyricist and photographer living in Ólafsfjörður.

 

Af reynslunni vinna menn verkin best.

These cod heads seem monstrous to me. The fish are like ghosts. I drift amongst their wooden skeletons on the beach. But here in the stainless steel and whir of the factory, they animate human life.

 

Hljóðlátt öldur kveða.

I live about 1800 km from the nearest ocean. That’s a 17-hour drive; about the same amount of time it would take to travel by car, without stopping, around the entire the Ring Road. The sea is not familiar to me. Kelp seems alien, like a life form washed up from another planet.

 

Inside the old church, I was drawn to this hymn board. It waits for voices raised in song. Empty pews. Without churchgoers it’s just a study in modernism.

Þegar vetur veldur tíð,
váleg veðrin drottna.
Hvílist sveitin fjallafríð,
fönnin hylur botna.

 

Gamlir festarhringir, hvílast í grænu mosabeði.

Colours. Floats. Things that go to sea. I’m afraid of the water, of waves and rough seas, of drifting beyond sight of the shoreline. Of disappearing.

 

Some people get really pissed off about the dirt bikes on the beach. They want their sand pristine. No smell of diesel in the air. All of us settling the landscape, colonizing it in our own ways. The camera, for instance.

Horfinn tími, en svo fullur af sögum.

 

Þegar vorið vekur mold,
veröld öll í ljóma björtum.
Nýtt er lífið, nýtt er hold,
nærist allt með ást í hjörtum.

On Instagram and Facebook this picture has the most “likes” of any photo that I’ve ever taken. Sunset kitsch.

 

 

Kvöldsins húmið hallar að,
hljóðlátt dagur kveður.
Í rökkrinu ég reyni það,
að rifja upp sumarveður.

1:15 am and it’s still light outside. We rigged a sleeping bag over the window in our bedroom in order to sleep. I dream vividly, some primitive part refusing rest.

 

 

Expansion and contraction. Low-lying clouds abbreviate the visible, make the familiar, strange. Looking out to sea on a clear day, my view stretches north and with it the limits of my imagination. Either way, things dissolve.

Ég elska þig stormur sem geysar um grund.

 

Líkt og kliður, ljúfur kveður,
læðist hann í fannafjötrum.
Leikur brátt við vorsins veður,
vonarsönginn, blár úr tötrum.
Fyrst af öllum, frosts að morgni,
fegurð leitar, vorsins býður.
Leitar lags i hlíðarhorni,
ljúft svo sytrar, lækur blíður.
Sumar ræður, sólin hitar,
sátt mun lífið Guðs og manna.
Gróður jarðar grundir litar,
gefur líf og gleði sanna.

Clear, fresh water. So much of it everywhere. I drink it straight from the earth, cold enough to hurt my teeth. Hot and steaming, piped in subterranean secret, it keeps me warm at night.

 

Ingi Þór Reyndal hefur starfað sem prentari, sjómaður. kennari og fleira. Hann unir sér núna sem textahöfundur og ljósmyndari og býr í Ólafsfirði.

Sara Matthews er Kanadískur lista og fræðimaður. Hún gisti tvo mánuði í Ólafsfirði, sl. ár sem hluta af Listhus Artspace verkefni.

  1. Karyn Sandlos

    I enjoyed reading this entry! I look forward to reading the post-exhibition essay. Congratulations on the opening! P.S., Sara, what a great photo of you. xo

    Reply

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