Pharology: the scientific study of lighthouses.
Coming from that, the epithet Pharologist describes those who once specialised in their use and upkeep. Nowadays, though, it’s used mainly by amateur aficionados of the buildings. Quartet Amiina can be counted among their ranks. Enamoured of the historical buildings’ utilitarian uses and romanticism, the quartet just released their new EP ‘Pharology’, an expansive, escapist effort that walks the line between experimental, ambient, subversive neo-classical and prelude to the impossible—an EP that’s as varied as the ocean by which it was written.
Now, they’re here with a visual accompaniment to the EP. The video, directed by Heimir Freyr Hlöðversson, is a swirl of experience made by a number of liquids filmed under a micro camera, ultimately creating what looks like a rough, primal alien world. It’s a visceral, all-encompassing experience—a fitting presentation for Amiina’s take on the lighthouse. As longtime fans of Amiina and also Pharologists ourselves (see here for proof), the Grapevine is honoured to premiere this video today below. Check it out below.
“I started by playing a lot with the music—by improvising along,” Heimir explains. “I come from a musical background so this was the perfect collaboration for me because I had total freedom. I just played with my ink and chemicals. It’s like painting but just from five millimetres to one centimetre.”
Heimir used alcohol, oil, ink and glue in Petri dishes to make the hypnotizing creations. “I just put a drop of alcohol in and then something starts to happen. I play with that and I film it,” he says. And it’s important, he emphasises, to capture the movement of the liquids as naturally as can be “You can even see hairs in it. I just decided to keep it raw and as organic as possible. I didn’t do anything digitally to clean it up—just made it negative. That’s why you get juicy colours.”
Heimir has long been exploring the microlens—most notably on Icelandic glaciers. “[The microlens] opens up a really beautiful world,” he relays. But while Heimir had the concept of the lighthouse of the guide, he based his images purely on how the music made him feel. In the end, the video—in his view—did evoke thoughts on climate change. “In the black and white shots, it’s kind of like an ice cap melting,” he says. “So you can look at it like that also.”
Hopefully, the video will soon be available to see along with the EP on the big screen in some sort of installation—but that’s just us speaking as longtime Amiina fans and also Pharologists. That said, turn off the lights, turn up the speakers, and watch Heimir’s creation in all its glory.
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.
Also you can get regular news from Iceland—including the latest notifications on eruptions, as soon as they happen—by signing up to our newsletter.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!