Three may be a mystical number and seven a holy one, but two and four and sixteen and so-forth are the numbers of science and rationality. When deprived of instruments, only with logic at hand, it is but natural to split our subjects in two, to split them again and again, until the desired number or amount is reached or can be added up from the newly created parts. So we divide a circle, first in half, then again, into four equal parts – into quadrants. On a compass, each represents the space between cardinal points, from North to East or from South to West. On the face of a clock it represents a quarter of an hour. On the weather charts of yore, they represent gradations of cloudiness.
The precision of the quadrants is attractive so we experiment. We have precise instruments now, so we divide our cycles into equal parts based not only on two but on three or other prime numbers. Some cycles are longer than others but they all revolve at the same speed and thus exciting, infectuous polyrhythms are created. Like numerous clocks ticking away in a hotel lobby, only the minutes are sometimes made up of 60 seconds, sometimes 40, sometimes 17.
This is how we tick away: different people in the same park on a beautiful day, minding our own business but inhabiting the same world. A cacophony of emotions and feelings. Hundreds of hearts, sometimes beating in time, sometimes singing in harmony; all spread across the horizon, each happy or sad in his or her quadrant.
(Text by Atli Bollason)
The spiral of a record.
The routine of a life.
The growth rings of a tree.
The rhythm of a drummer
It may not always seem like much – a cup of bitter coffee, another day spent under the flickering fluorescent lights of an office, an overly long queue at the check-out of a suffocating supermarket. But it is also the broken china scattered around the apartment after last night's row, the scent of burnt meat and birch wafting through an endless evening, an impenetrable smile on a crowded morning train. It goes round and round and round again, sometimes dark, sometimes light; it has drama. And when the tree finally comes down one day, it is exposed for everyone to see; a transmission into the future.
But it always makes you dance. How wouldn't it? It's a groove, for god's sake.
(Text by Atli Bollason)
Shed Your Skin
Amidst destruction on the mainland, the two locomotives Minør and Pionér transported wagons full of rock and gravel to the Icelandic seaside during the construction of the Reykjavík harbour in 1913- 1917. The two metallic giants ushered in a new age in Iceland. However, soon after construction ceased the two trains were parked and have never driven since. Minør is on display near the waterfront and Pionér stands lifeless in an outdoor museum on a hill. They are the only trains ever to have graced the Icelandic landscape. Now they only serve to remind us of the grandeur of a bygone future. At the dawn of the 21st century – again, tumultuous times – we allow ourselves to dream of new Minørs and Pionérs capable of pulling the tremendous weight of the past strewn all around us and putting it towards constructing an ambitious future.
(Text by Atli Bollason)
Every human journey has two destinations. The one where expectations are to be met and the one that the traveler accommodates. The one that travels to the furthest point far away from any comprehension and norms first loses the memory that points back home. The one that travels into the desert without a recognizable horizon desires the intelligence and the aesthetic sense of the Bedouin. He desires also his thoughts and his cunning ways to survive; he desires the beauty of the desert and values it just like the freshness of a drop of water.
Greenland has no paradigms other than those that have to do with Greenland. No scale is steep enough, quiet enough, old or unmindful enough. Those who dwell there have gone to accept a beauty that consumes the cardinal points and the head itself, from north, south, east and west.
This is a beauty that doesn’t ask for the opinion of the traveler, it is not participating in a dialogue that expects any answer. This beauty is whitish-yellow by fat and is of raw dolerite under the lurid turquoise coloured sky and doesn’t care about your opinions or ideas. It crawls forward busily gnawing at the cliffs and grinds it into submission. It eats nature’s clockwork and sweeps from you all the seasons you’ve reserved for rest and outdoor activities. It doesn’t look away out of consideration of the inexperienced or waits while you put your shoes on your feet.
No, this beauty is only verbalized by itself. It doesn’t stagger about with the public opinion or shows consideration for anybody. It stands against you absolutely in as personal way as it can by ruining your meaningless existence and opinions. It pushes you and follows you and towers over you by unreserved act of cruelty. It forgets you just as easily as it didn’t notice you at first. It renews itself for each layer of time it is covered with and pushes it towards the excruciating grinding of creation. Like a fickle crown jewel of the invisible pearl necklace of the pole it is the mother that watches her children drop into the sea to vapourise and turn again into snow. The silent but gurgling onrush of this relentless glacial world repeats itself less frequently than empires rise and are then forgotten.
In Peter Frauchen‘s story „From Thule to Rio“ there is a transient photo kept by two whale hunters that have been left to oversee the fishing and housing. At the world’s coldest nook they share a single memory of mercy and beauty. The portrait of Dolores Del Rios that reaches just below her thin shoulders.
Printed on a label of canned fruits she never gets cold during hibernation at 73° North at Mosquito Bay. The almond shaped eyes and the high cheekbones of the goddess is the last memory from the world her custodians were never to see.
The glacier made its demands, it received Dolores the goddess like it acquired everything else with its incessant presumptuousness. No one got to know of the passions and desires of the custodians of Dolares Del Rios; no one got to know of the childish envy of them who loved the portrait of the goddess and both wanted to keep it to themselves.
And if the glacier knew their story it had long time ago swept it away into the deep sea without any regret. Because the glacier doesn’t have any time for human details and their chronological desires.
For me Dolores Del Rios lives in every photo I see taken from Greenland. In her high cheekbones on the photo that reaches just below shoulders lies the opposite of the local conditions of where she gets lost. I saw how the goddess doesn’t disappear with her almond shaped eyes, erratically looking for her lovers, how she puckers her eyes in the white brightness of snow and how the slick of fat and the saltiness have harmed her slender neck and cheek. In the search for her fans she dies each time and a fracture of the glacier grinds the rock and pushes out to the sea.
But Dolores isn’t mine, I know it just as well as I know the cruelty of the detention of the steel of the glacier. Dolores is of the cold and the surf, the current that damages the slick of fat and bilge, she is the offspring of tropical fruits that are reborn in their search for her lovers in a country that forgets everything.
(Text by Daníel Þorkell Magnússon)