the wonderful students of the town of Skagaströnd.


This video is a live document of a brief meeting I had on February 2015, with the wonderful students of the town of Skagaströnd. Greetings to all of them and in particular to their teacher, Trostan Agnarsson, and the school principal, Vera Valgarðsdóttir.
The film has been made possible with the help of musician and Violin player Francesco Cappelletti. Copyright Vittoria Chierici 2015.

A Submergence in Húnaflói

Here are some beautiful pix and information about a video- sound installation I had the pleasure to watch at NES artists residency in Skagastrond. The installation is part of a big project by Norwegian artists Runar Bruteig Olsen and Anita Bjørkli. Starring many beautiful people from Skagastrond, Iceland and the rekcless surfist and artist himself, Markús Ingi Guðnason. Photos by Wibeke Bruland and Andrea Elaine Hoff. Enjoy !!!!

 made by and for skagastrond


A very short introduction to The Dips, specifically A Submergence in Húnaflói (The Dips #4)

1 – What’s the idea?

The idea stems from John Cage’s philosophy of the music of the surroundings. Basing it on his composition A Dip in the Lake (1978) we also utilize his infamous chance operations, to eliminate our subjective aesthetics. We present an audiovisual collection of the local surroundings in Skagaströnd, by picking out random addresses. Then we walk to the different locations, set up our recording equipment and record 2 minutes from each place. We spend very little time deciding in what angle to put up the camera and the microphones. This way, we do not control what we collect. The recordings are not of our choosing, they are solely Skagaströnd’s own aesthetic.

invitation to jam

This is an important part of this project. The ‘art’ here, is not ours, it’s made by Skagaströnd. By that I mean the people who decided to settle there, the planners and builders of the town, and everyone who lives there, improve the place (and destroy it) and keep Skagaströnd alive. Finally there are two formats for presenting the project. We do a performance with compositions made from the audiovisual material, and we invite the audience to play around with the material themselves, in an interactive installation.

from the main event at Fellsborg2 – How did you connected with the people in Skag.. ( interviews)? Which people? Like Markus for example and others?

It is an integral part of the concept to involve more than just the surroundings. Therefore we always look for local collaborators as well. In Skagaströnd we made our installation from beautiful children’s paintings. We needed 30 objects to attach our cables to, and we thought it would be a good idea to have them freshly made by the local art talents of the children. To do this, we simply contacted the principal of the school, Vera, and found a practical solution in visiting Fristund: The Icelandic after school program, with enough extra time and energy to participate in a project like ours. Other times, we have collected objects from the area, objects with some sort of connection to the area itself. We also needed a collaborator to develop the performance and perform with. In every place we have done this, we have 1 or 2 local collaborators. They bring the authenticity of the (re)presentation and the recontextualization of the surroundings to the project on a human level. In a small place like Skagaströnd, Markús even functions as a guy people personally know. After spending a couple of weeks at Nes, we just decided to ask Markús to join in. He had this rock star mentality to him, and just by slowly getting to know him, we decided that we wanted to have him on the team. There is no specific method for choosing our collaborators, we just participate in the community, and see what comes out of it. We must also mention that we spoke to a lot of people who helped us in many ways – all important team players in the project. Like the mayor and several of his employees, Halldór the renaissance man, Signý and her colleagues at the bank, and of course Vicki and the other Nes associates.

3 – How does your “machine” works ? Music and video etc…

The audiovisual set-up consists of 30 MIDI drum triggers, hooked up to two different laptops – on for video and one for audio. The laptops are fed with the recordings of the surroundings, and the MIDI drum triggers functions as control devices for the material. They are touch sensitive, in such a a way that anything you mount it becomes like a piano key, or a percussion instrument, that plays back a sound or video clip (long or short, or looped). This way we can work with layering, harmonics, live drumming, looped beats, and so on. All derived from the source material. This applies to both audio and video. The output goes into one projector with a large screen, and two stereo pair speakers – to distribute the sound in all of the space (without contaminating the raw material, original stereo is still there).

Runar Bruteig Olsen and Anita Bjørkli has been working within performing arts since 2009. They are both holding an MA from the University of Bergen in comparative literature and theatre science, respectively. In the very beginning of their theatre careers, while working with the independent theatre company Teater NOR, they mostly worked with designing and making sound, music, video and lighting. The company is known for its post dramatic style, often emphasizing the theatre space as a main element, with actors often “reduced” to workers, or agents for the spatial and temporal audiovisual experience. This combination of academic backgrounds and a technical, however still artistic approach has shaped their concepts and style in their different projects as a duo. Their currently ongoing performance series The Dips, is a prime example of this.

being the rockstarCari amici  e studenti italiani, ecco la presentazione in inglese di un’opera molto interessante che ho avuto il piacere di osservare mentre ero in Islanda alla residenza per artisti: NES. L’opera fa parte di un piu’ vasto progetto  costruita dagli artisti norvegesi Runar Bruteig Olsen and Anita Bjørkli  e consiste di un macchinario dove immagini e suoni vengono modificate dal pubblico operando individualmente su alcune componenti della “macchina”.


Biopol in Skagaströnd

Cari giovani amici studenti italiani, la comunita’ di Skagaströnd  e’ molto efficiente. C’e’ un porto industriale dove arrivano i pescherecci e dove si lavora il pesce, ma anche dove una societa’, la Biopol, fa ricerche biomarine sull’ambiente della baia di Húnaflói dove si trova il paese.

industr3Ecco in inglese, una citazione dal sito della Biopol che spiega lo scopo della societa’ e le attivita’ che svolge: “BioPol is a marine biotechnology company established on Sept. 1st 2007. It is located in Skagaströnd in Northwest Iceland. The goal of the company is to examine the biota of Húnaflói-bay, undertake research in the field of biotechnology and support innovation in the field of marine biotechnology.”

Icelandic Horses- I cavalli Islandesi

Dear young friends, studends from Poppi in Casentino, I didn’t know much about Icelandic horses until I met the sensitive Norwegian poet Veronika Erstad and her beautiful, brave friend Wibeke Bruland, photographer and journalist at the NES artists residency in Skagastrond. They filled my ignorance about these slpendid animals. In particular, Veronika herself took these very nice pix.

1509884_10155259977975580_8052163863998800538_nCari giovani amici studenti  di Poppi nel Casentino, non so se avete sentito parlare dei cavalli Islandesi, beh… sono bellissimi e simpatici. Non me ne intendo per niente, ma in Islanda due giovani amiche norvegesi incontrate alla residenza per artisti NES, nel paese di Skahastrond, dove ho passato parte dell’inverno, mi hanno dato qualche informzione che troverete anche in questo post dove cito Wikipedia sia in Italiano che in Inglese. Tutte le foto sono di Veronika Erstad.

10376261_10155259978470580_2839436708087347973_nHere are some information quoted from Wikipedia in English: “The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse developed in Iceland. Although the horses are small, at times pony-sized, most registries for the Icelandic refer to it as a horse. Icelandic horses are long-lived and hardy. In their native country they have few diseases; Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return…The Icelandic displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop…The breed is still used for traditional farm work in its native country, as well as for leisure, showing, and racing. Developed from ponies taken to Iceland by Scandinavian settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries, the breed is mentioned in literature and historical records throughout Icelandic history; the first reference to a named horse appears in the 12th century. Horses were venerated in Norse mythology, a custom brought to Iceland by the country’s earliest settlers.”

10988282_10155259977860580_1497878112818281491_nCitando  da Wikipedia in Italiano: “Il cavallo islandese è una razza equina sviluppatasi in Islanda. Nonostante questi equini siano mediamente di piccole dimensioni, a volte simili ai pony, sono considerati dalla maggior parte dei registri di razze veri e propri cavalli. È l’unica razza indigena dell’Islanda, ma si è andata diffondendo in molte parti del mondo e ne esistono popolazioni consistenti anche in altre parti d’Europa e nel Nord America. Nel suo Paese di origine questo cavallo viene utilizzato nei lavori agricoli, in mostre equine, in gare di equitazione e per il consumo di carne equina…Il cavallo islandese è resistente e soggetto a poche malattie: questo grazie alla legge islandese, che prevede che neppure gli esemplari esportati possano tornare nel loro Paese di origine, in modo da scongiurare eventuali contagi. Il cavallo islandese ha inoltre la caratteristica di saper eseguire due andature in più oltre ai tradizionali passo, trotto, canter e galoppo…Nata dai pony dei coloni scandinavi tra il IX e il X secolo, il primo riferimento a questa razza è del XII secolo, quando questi cavalli erano oggetto di venerazione nella mitologia norrena.


Latitude and Sunlight

The amount of sunlight hitting the Earth’s surface is affected by the tilt of the Earth and its atmosphere.

The Arctic is sometimes called the land of the midnight sun. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not set for a period of time during summer, called polar day . This happens because the Earth is tilted on its axis. The length of this period of continuous daylight depends on how far north of the Arctic Circle you are. At the Arctic Circle, there is only one day of continuous daylight. This occurs at the summer solstice, usually around the 23rd of June. At the North Pole, there is almost six months of continuous daylight. The sun rises close to the spring equinox, around March 21, and does not set until the autumn equinox around September 22. In between the North Pole and Arctic Circle, the number of days of continuous daylight decreases as you get closer to the Arctic Circle. In winter, the North Pole experiences six months of continuous night. The number of days of continuous night also decreases the closer you get to the Arctic Circle. At the Arctic circle there is one day of continuous darkness.

The dynamic climate of Iceland

If you don’t like the weather right now, just wait five minutes,” people sometimes say in Iceland. This is an indication of the strong variability of the Icelandic climate, where one may occasionally experience the four seasons over a day: sunshine and mild temperatures; windy, cool temperatures and rain; snow and temperatures below zero degrees C. When this happens (rarely), it is an expression of the location of Iceland at the border between Arctic and temperate seas, and between cold air masses of the Arctic and warm air masses of lower latitudes. Ocean currents and sea temperatures Iceland, located at 63-67°N and 18-23°W, has considerably milder climate than its location just south of the Arctic Circle would imply. A branch of the Gulf Stream, the Irminger Current, flows along the southern and the western coast greatly moderating the climate. The cold East Greenland Current flows west of Iceland, but a branch of that current, the East Icelandic Current, approaches Iceland’s northeast- and east coasts. This is reflected in the coastal sea surface temperatures around Iceland. They are generally close to +2°C during the coldest months (January-March). Sea temperatures rise to over +10°C at the south- and west coasts of Iceland during the summer, slightly over +8°C at the north coast, but are coolest at the east coast where summer sea temperatures remain below +8°C. During years with heavy sea ice off northern Iceland, sea temperatures during summer can remain close to winter temperatures.

Read more here

correnti     latitude_and_sunlight_large

La Pelle di Pesce – The fish skin

Sulla via per andare ad Akureyri si puo’ deviare verso Sauðárkrókur, uno dei centri, assieme a Blonduos, piu’ numerosi nei fiordi del Nord. Qui, oltre ad una produzione locale di birra, c’e’ un fabbrica, la Sutarinn, che assolutamente dovevo vedere: e’ una conceria che, oltre a pelli di agnello e di foca, lavorano la pelle di pesce in modo tale che sembra vera pelle, leggera e morbida. Richiestissima da gli stilisti di alta moda e’ la pelle del pesce lupo, del salmone e di altri pesci. Ci sono solo tre fabbriche di questo tipo al mondo.

pesce lupo

Il pesce lupo è comune nell’Oceano Atlantico settentrionale orientale dal Golfo di Guascogna all’Islanda e alle coste della Groenlandia e della Lapponia, nella parte occidentale di questo oceano è presente sulle coste canadesi e degli USA a sud fino al New Jersey.

“The Tannery Visitor Centre is located in Sauðárkrókur, north Iceland, in the only tannery in Europe which makes fishleather. The Visitor Centre provides visitors with an unusual way to experience the tannery and its products: guided tours of the actual tannery, where fish-skin is expertly processed to make high-quality leather…Fishleather from Atlantic Leather has caught the imagination of internationally-known fashion houses and brands such as Prada, Dior and Nike. Come to the Tannery Visitor Centre to learn more about this unique material.”

Borgarmýri 5 – 550 Sauðárkrókur – Sími (+354) 512 8025 –

To the Lighthouse ( Gita al Faro )

To the Light House by Virginia Wolf is one of the best book I have ever read. For some reasons that are still unknown to me, when I arrived to Iceland on Jan 1st 2015 a sadness caught me so deeply that it became more of a depressive state of mind. The only beautiful piece of literature that came up to my mind in those first days in North West Iceland, was the letter that Virginia Wolf wrote to her relatives and friends explaining clearly the motif that brought her to drown herself in the river near home, after loading her pockets with stones. A detail so important to the motivation of Wolf’s suicide: a rational determination to end a suffering status of intolerance.

handwriting-virginia-woolf-10921544-600-870This is the reason why I titled this post with Virginia Wolf famous novel: to the Light House.In fact, with some young women of the local artists residency, mostly coming from Northern countries, I did went to the light house of Kálfshamarsvík, near the community of Skagastrond in North West Iceland, in a windy and snowy dark morning.

Lighthouse      Was it a beautiful experience ? No, I lost one of my gloves,  but it was the first pit stop outside the community and the starting point of a little adventure.

to the Lighthouse Gita al Faro -

I must say that I wanted desperately to come to Iceland; to the North of Iceland and in winter. Despite the weather. I knew that it wouldn’t be so easy to adjust myself to the darkness and to the wind. I am a very anxious person, but not really a depressive one. Remotness, or isolation because I should had living for a while in a community of less then 500 people hasn’t ever been the real problem. I can isolate myself anywhere I go. Besides, the community of Skagastrond is very well organized. There is everything you really need. Therefore, the sense of organization and the kindness of its inhabitants, gave me confiance. Not the wind gusts.

rough sea 2

The feeling of depression rose suddenly when my mistakes, my loss, my frustrations of all my life  popped out from my soul in a negative way with no advisory alarm.

early morning The journey had to go on as planned. But Iceland is not that Nordic culture that I believed to be. People are quite outgoing and the land has an overwhelming nature who rapidly changes. A condition for having a good amount of flexibility in planning.

towards AkureyriIt is so that I finally had the opportunity to drive into the beautiful fjord of Akureyri, the second major town of Iceland with a population of 18.000 inhabitants. It is so that I met Haldor,a very friendly and intelligent young man, the son of my Icelandic friend Halldora who has been helping me throughout my dramatic emotional experiences in the North of Iceland. In akureyri I met Fikka, Fredrika, a very nice gentle geologist who invited me and my friends artist to a dinner at her partner’s house. A very tasty soup and some interesting info about the  id Atlantic ridge and other geological subjects warning us about winter tourism towards the middle of the country where the wind blizzards and bad weather may cause problems to the tourists themselves and to the Icelandic rescue teams volunteers. It happens when tourists try to do everything in one day and see all the beauty with an ordinary, superficial attitude. The intollerable status of being a tourist. A blizzard caught us during our going back from Myvatn Lake, quite a nice area with geisers, thermal pools, falls, all what one turist needs to say back home that has actually visited this amazing land.

godfussmud   Errare_humanum_est back to skag

accidento back to SkagiGeothermal Power Plant

Thorrablot at Skagastrond

Beautiful party on February 7 2015, at the community hall in Skagastrond, for this Icelandic traditional Thorrablot. Very interesting the preparation of the old times food,  but so strong in taste that I hardly had just a bit of the most eatable part. Here is a list of this food and the story of this day of celebration.

friends at ThorrablotSome history about this celebration: “Þorrablót (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈθɔrːaplout]) is an Icelandic midwinter festival, named for the month of Þorri of the historical Icelandic calendar (corresponding to mid January to mid February).The historical context is from the Orkneyinga saga, where Þorri (“Frost”) is an early Norwegian king, the son of Snær (“Snow”). Hversu Noregr byggðist (“How Norway was settled”, 12th century) states that the Kvens offered a yearly sacrifice to Þorri at mid-winter.The modern festival arose in the second half of the 19th century, with the Romantic nationalism of the time, comparable to Burns night in Scotland. The first known celebration was reportedly organised by the association of Icelandic students in Copenhagen in 1873,  and by other societies active in the Icelandic independence movement of the time (Iceland received a constitution in 1874, and was recognized as a kingdom in personal union with Denmark in 1918). The Þorrablót is an evening with dinner where participants hold speeches and recite poems, originally to honour the Norse god Thor (Þórr), whose name is taken to be associated with Þorri. Calling the feast a blót (a feast held in honor of a god in Norse paganism) makes clear the reference to pagan times, which many nationalists of the 19th century considered a golden age of Icelandic history”. ( quoted from Wikipedia En).

thorrablot food

“Þorramatur is a selection of traditional Icelandic food, consisting mainly of meat and fish products cured in a traditional manner, cut into slices or pieces and served with rúgbrauð (dense and dark rye bread), butter and brennivín (an Icelandic akvavit). Þorramatur is consumed during the Nordic month of Þorri (Thorri), in January and February, particularly at the mid-winter feast of Þorrablót (Thorrablot) as a tribute to old culture. Being thus connected with the tradition of Þorrablót festivals, Þorramatur is most often served as a buffet…The traditional method of storing meat by submerging it in fermented whey, which gives the food a characteristic sour taste, is unfamiliar to most generations of Icelanders alive today and therefore a Þorramatur buffet usually has a choice between sour and unsoured pieces of the same food, served on separate trays as the acid readily contaminates food with which it comes into contact. However, some of the food, for example the rams’ testicles, has to be cured by the acid before serving. A number of foods have been added to the buffet that have never gone out of fashion in Icelandic cuisine, such as smoked lamb, fermented shark and dried fish, which are still commonly consumed in all seasons. Þorramatur also may include some novelties, traditional food that was strictly regional and even rare as such, and unfamiliar even to the older generation. Examples include seals’ flippers, known only from the Breiðafjörður area, which is sometimes, albeit rarely, served as part of Þorramatur.


  • Kæstur hákarl, fermented Greenland shark.
  • Súrsaðir hrútspungar, the testicles of rams pressed in blocks, boiled and cured in lactic acid.
  • Svið, singed and boiled sheep heads, sometimes cured in lactic acid.
  • Sviðasulta, head cheese or brawn made from svið, sometimes cured in lactic acid.
  • Lifrarpylsa (liver sausage), a pudding made from liver and suet of sheep kneaded with rye flour and oats.
  • Blóðmör (blood-suet; also known as slátur lit. ‘slaughter’), a type of blood pudding made from lamb’s blood and suet kneaded with rye flour and oats.
  • Harðfiskur, wind-dried fish (often cod, haddock or seawolf), served with butter.
  • Rúgbrauð (rye bread), traditional Icelandic rye bread.
  • Hangikjöt, (hung meat), smoked and boiled lamb or mutton, sometimes also eaten raw.
  • Lundabaggi, sheep’s loins wrapped in the meat from the sides, pressed and cured in lactic acid.
  • Selshreifar, seal’s flippers cured in lactic acid

sheeps headsMore news about the Greenland shark and how to prepare Kæstur hákarl out of it.

1480shark608x325   gt-00896-34

“This is one of the largest living species of shark, of dimensions comparable to those of the great white shark. Greenland sharks grow to 6.4 m (21 ft) and 1,000 kg (2,200 lb), and possibly up to 7.3 m (24 ft) and more than 1,400 kg (3,100 lb).However, most Greenland sharks observed have been around 2.44–4.8 m (8.0–15.7 ft) long and weigh up to 400 kg (880 lb).Males are typically smaller than females. It rivals the Pacific sleeper shark (possibly up to 7 m or 23 ft long) as the largest species in the family Somniosidae.” ( Quoted from Wikipedia En).

Hakarl_near_Bjarnahöfn_in_Iceland    220px-Hákarl

“The flesh of a Greenland shark is poisonous. This is due to the presence of the toxin trimethylamine oxide, which, upon digestion, breaks down into trimethylamine, producing effects similar to extreme drunkenness. Occasionally, sled dogs that end up eating the flesh are unable to stand up due to the neurotoxins. Similar toxic effects occur with the related Pacific sleeper shark, but not in most other shark species, whose meat is often consumed fresh. However, it can be eaten if it is boiled in several changes of water or dried or fermented for some months to produce Kæstur Hákarl, often Hákarl for short. Traditionally this was done by burying the shark in boreal ground, exposing it to several cycles of freezing and thawing. It is considered a delicacy in Iceland and Greenland” ( Quoted from Wikipedia en).