From Iceland — Reykjavík Arts Festival: Fresh Like Peppermint

Reykjavík Arts Festival: Fresh Like Peppermint

Published May 30, 2018

Reykjavík Arts Festival: Fresh Like Peppermint
Juliana Iluminata Wilczynski
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Described as a “three-headed giant of sorts,” new performance art ‘Peppermint’ is set to take place during the highly anticipated Reykjavík Arts Festival in June. Curated by Erling T.V. Klingenberg, Elísabet Brynhildardóttir and Selma Hreggviðsdóttir, it comprises three performances, each by a different artist.

The chosen ones

Poet, musician and artist Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir is one of the three. When she was invited to take part in the series, which also includes works by Hannes Lárusson and Florence Lam, Ásta accepted despite not knowing them—but she quickly grew to see the connections.

“Hannes and Florence have this kind of element that nobody else is doing what they do,” says Ásta. “Both of them have a very specific aesthetic. They have a very special energy about their art. Erling said we reminded him of peppermint!”

Art detectives

“Our brain always wants to make sense of everything—and it’s just like we are actually living in The Matrix.”

The concept behind the project seems intentionally elusive. The idea was to simply do something fresh—and that’s exactly what it feels like. “My part of ‘Peppermint’ is called “Lunar-10.13 & The Riddle of Norensa,” says Ásta. “It’s a slow soap musical mystery on an art space station. The art objects are formulated viewpoints, the performers are the detectives, and the soundtrack is a clue for the future of this live movie we call life.”

What the show will evolve into is unknown even to the artists themselves—a position that the prolific multi-disciplinarian is more than comfortable with. “I do poetry festivals, and art festivals, and music festivals, and maybe I switch to doing poetry at a music festival, and then I’m doing all of these things at once,” says Ásta. “I always thought that you had to put art in boxes so people can understand it—we live in a society where we have to label everything. But now I just do whatever I feel like. Fuck the rest!”

Dreams, time, and reality

A big part of Ásta’s contribution relies on her bizarre dreams, which have been a source of inspiration. “I had a dream where I was running through an underground tunnel at full speed,”she recounts. “I was opening a lot of cages, and there was a kangaroo, and some mice, all kinds of animals. When I reflected on the dream afterwards, I thought: maybe this is me, trying not to categorise everything. So, I think this is part of the performance.”

Ásta has the wisdom of a 600-year-old elf and the energetic curiosity of a six-year-old child. One of the things that intrigues her most—and also serves as a source of inspiration for her work—is the human brain’s perception and relationship with time and reality. She explains a phenomenon known as chronostasis, when the brain sometimes fills in a fake memory in gaps of time that one experiences, when for example, looking at a clock. “It’s our perception,” Ásta concludes. “Our brain always wants to make sense of everything—and it’s just like we are actually living in The Matrix.”

A turning point

At ‘Peppermint,’ Ásta will be partially unveiling just that—the part of herself that she’s still learning about. “I think I’m at a turning point actually in my career,” she concludes. “I’m seeing beauty in things that are not deteriorating at once. That’s the thing. It’s so exciting. I don’t know what it is, but it’s going to be a great surprise!”

See Peppermint at Kling & Bang on June 2nd, June 9th, and June 16th.

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