From Iceland — Looking Back, Looking Forward

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Published January 22, 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Ari TraustiAri Trausti Guðmundsson,
Geophysicist and 2012 presidential candidate

What was the biggest shock of 2013?
“The incompetence and lack of professionalism of the new government. It lacks any kind of long-term vision.”

What do you think will be the next big Icelandic volcano to go off?
“An educated guess compasses five volcanoes; the most likely one would be either Grímsvötn in Vatnajökull or some of the volcanic fissures that are associated with Bárðabúnka.”

Lay LowLay Low

What was your favourite music festival during 2013?
“Rauðasandur, the festival that was moved because of terrible weather. It was still great fun, and my group ended up driving all over the Westfjords after it.”

What festival are you most looking forward to in 2014?
“Rauðasandur festival. We hope we manage to go to Rauðasandur itself next time.”

Andri SnærAndri Snær Magnason
Author (‘Story Of The Blue Planet,’ ‘LoveStar’) and Environmentalist

What was the worst environmental disaster to happen in Iceland in 2013?
“The new government created a recipe for an environmental catastrophe by recalling the new environmental laws. The disasters don’t happen when the bulldozers get to work, but rather when people are no longer given access to the debate and demonstrations are their only means of being heard. 
The Independence Party should support creative industries and see their benefits, but it seems to be hopelessly stuck on heavy industries. As long as the party continues to be as popular as it is, the environment is guaranteed to suffer.”

What was the best book to be released in 2013?
“I suspect that Sjón’s new novel is good, but I haven’t managed to read that much this year. Guðmundur Páll Ólafsson’s ‘Vatnið’ (“The Water”) is probably this year’s most important book to be published. Guðmundur is a world class expert on water, and is even considered a Guru in Nepal.”

Elvar GunnarssonElvar Gunnarsson
Filmmaker (“Einn”)

Which Icelandic film or TV series were this year’s big hits?
“What I really thought stood out this year was: the film “Hross í oss,” [Benedikt Erlingsson] the short film “Hvalfjörður,” [Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson] and the comedy series “Fólkið í blokkinni” [Ólaf Hauk Símonarson]. They were all tasteful and well made. I also though the films “XL” [Marteinn Thorsson] and “Málmhaus” [Ragnar Bragason] were great.”

What film are you most looking forward to seeing in 2014?
“Jodorowsky’s ‘Dune.’ It was released in September 2013, but I have yet to see it.”

Gunnar Lúðvík NelsonGunnar Lúðvik Nelson
Professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

What new place are you most looking forward to visiting in 2014?
“It’s not exactly a local place, as much as an entire continent: Asia and Oceania. I’ve been very excited to go there for some time now. Although I haven’t organised the trip yet, it’s been on my mind, and I might go in the new year.”

Rökkvi VésteinssonRökkvi Vésteinsson
Standup Comedian

What was the funniest moment of 2013?
“When an event promoter called started a competition to see who could make the best logo for them with the embarrassingly low prize of 10.000 ISK [$86.20 USD] for the winner. Hilarity ensued. The tsunami of jokes, sarcastic and hideous logos they received will not be forgotten any time soon and can still be seen on their Facebook page.”

What was the least funny moment of the year?
“When our nation actually voted the same parties back in that had given our banks away to their private friends who then, in turn, drove them all into bankruptcy and the whole country into the financial crisis that we are still feeling today.”

Sara RielSara Riel
Visual Artist

What was most interesting in visual art in 2013?
“A lot, as it was a great year for the art scene. ‘Visitors,’ by Ragnar Kjartansson, ‘Interval,’ by Huginn Þór Arason and Andrea Maack, and Katrín Sigurðardóttir‘s piece for the Venice Biennale stood out, as well as several shows at Kunstschlager. Finnur Arnar‘s shed that travelled around and showed a lot of different art was impressive, as was the Sequences Visual Art Festival, and Lilja Birgirsdóttir‘s vessel orchestra. And I can’t forget Magga Páls’s life‘s work, ‘Monumental,’ or Sirra Sigrún Sigurðardóttir’s exhibit in Hafnarborg.”

Where do you see the art scene going in 2014?
“New, unexplored and exiting places. Last year, I made an effort to see each and every exhibition I could, as I did the year before that, which meant going to about two or three each weekend. The scene is flourishing and growing, and we’ll have to find new imaginative ways to both examine society and create more intellectual beauty.”

Heiðar Kári Rannversson
Program Manager at the Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarhúsið

What was the best art exhibit of 2013?
“Huginn Þór Arason and Andrea Maack’s exhibition ‘Interval,’ at Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús was the best show of the year: a period-room of the distant future – Trippy!”

What exhibition should we look out for in 2014?
“I’m very excited about the coming exhibition at Ásmundarsafn bearing a great title: ‘I’ve never seen figurative electricity.’ The show, curated by Klara Þórhallsdóttir and Kristín Dagmar Jóhannesdóttir, displays works by sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982) along with new spatial works by nine Icelandic contemporary artists.”

Andie RaffayAndie Raffay
Receptionist at Hlemmur Square Hotel

What was the strangest item left behind at your hotel last year?
“There was a strange thing left in storage last year:  a colourful pig statue wrapped with a condom.”
What was the strangest request made by a hotel guest?
-A 70-year-old lady asked for the penis museum
-A guest asked “Where can you buy ‘not grandpa boxers’ in Iceland?”

Auður ÖspAuður Ösp
Blogger behind I Heart Reykjavík

What was the most unusual travel request or tourist advice that someone asked you for last year?
“I think the most unusual request I got this year is when this guy sent me an e-mail and asked me to help him propose to his girlfriend and plan their wedding two days later without really knowing whether she would say yes or what she wanted for her wedding day…Thankfully she said yes and as far as I gather they are living happily ever after.”

Þórhallur HafþórssonÞórhallur Hafþórsson
Barista at Kaffitár

What was the most-ordered drink in 2013?
“Locals order lattes and filter coffee. Tourists order Flat Whites and Latte-Macchiatos. A Flat White is an Australian/New Zealand type of strong latte; a Latte-Macchiato is a very milky drink ordered by Germans…a lot of milk and almost no coffee.”

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