Flip The Switch: Iceland's Raflost Electronic Arts Festival Comes Online

Flip The Switch: Iceland’s Raflost Electronic Arts Festival Comes Online

Published May 16, 2018

Flip The Switch: Iceland’s Raflost Electronic Arts Festival Comes Online
Phil Uwe Widiger
Photo by
Dan Hett
Art Bicnick

Do you know what animated notations are? Have you ever been to an algorave? No? Well, then listen up, because the Raflost festival, held from May 23rd-27th, will soon be putting them on the map when they bring the latest electronic and media arts to downtown Reykjavík.

But wait—what exactly is “media arts,” anyway? “What we mean with that term are artforms that use electricity, electronics and interactivity as their basic material,” says one of the festival’s organisers, Jesper Pedersen. “We’re focusing on the more experimental side of things. That includes electronic music, interactive installations, interactive videos, and interactive dance.”

Originality and innovation

The festival has been held annually since 2007, with the goal to reinvent itself with every edition. “We try to have some new things every year,so that we don’t repeat ourselves,” states Jesper. “Of course, there’s always an overlap, because we’re dealing with a relatively small field, at least in Iceland. We’re trying to groom those grassroots.”

This year’s edition will start off with the screening of “The Goodiepal Equation,” about a Danish/Faroese multimedia artist on Wednesday, May 23. Of course, there’ll also be music—with animated notations. “They’re basically video scores that we play, so we look at a video screen and we play what’s on the screen,” Jesper explains.

Initiation and education

On Saturday, 26th May, Iceland will be able to witness its first algorave. “An algorave is people making music in real time by coding computers,” says Jesper. “They show the computer code on a projector and then it becomes dance music, or rave music—whatever you want to call it. It’s a very open form, and it’s very big in England. We’re gonna have some artists over for this.”

“We’re trying to groom the grassroots.”

Connected to the festival, a workshop about electronic art will be held at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, where both local and international students will create together. “We put them in groups where they get to work with students from other fields,” Jesper explains. “We make them create a dialogue. A lot of interesting things happen from there. Of course, we also guide them with the technology.”

Lambs to the S.L.Á.T.U.R.

Along with Jesper, the festival is organized by electronic musicians Áki Ásgeirsson and Ríkharður Friðriksson. Both Jesper and Áki are part of the famously experimental composer collective S.L.Á.T.U.R., which will also perform at the festival. So you can expect all sorts of electronic-nerdiness and experimental mindblowing.

Raflost is an electronic and media arts festival held in Reykjavík from May 23rd-27th. Check out the programme at raflost.is.

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