The Icelandic Love Corporation are enigmatic and their colourful, life affirming works are transient or anonymous. Because of this and having read numerous other interviews, I knew that this would be a challenge; a bit like catching smoke with a net or a scooping up the same piece of river more than once.
Their work spans a wide range of mediums including performance, sculpture, installations, music, film, television, painting, and literature. While certainly emotive, like their creators, the works are resistant to analysis. Trying to do so is rather pointless; a bit like trying to create a specific blueprint for how to run the rake through a Zen garden.
What I will say is that I find their work honest and refreshing with a seriousness that isn't cumbersome. As a whole, their body of work is like an ornate diary, a window into their own personal journeys with the most incredible, enlightening outlook.
In regards to the name of your group, would you explain the importance of the trio of words from which it is made: Icelandic, love, and corporation? And aside from the name itself, what changed between the group being known as Gjörningaklúbburinn and The Icelandic Love Corporation?
Well, we never thought about it as a trio of words, per se. When this name was first used, we were actually a quartet. Dóra Isleifsdóttir was a part of the group from 1996 - 2001. Why we chose those three exact words is both easy and hard to explain. Icelandic, well that's a fact. We are icelandic. Love. we like it. it is a strong idea. It is both a redeeming, creative and destructive element. but most of the time a very good thing. corporation.
"Some people seem to automatically connect the word love to something kitschy or childish. We really don't understand that."
For us it's love for life and all that's in it, good and bad.
But the word Gjörningaklúbburinn literally translated means Performance Club. We didn't find that english version too exciting. In icelandic the word Gjörningaklúbburinn has various connotations or layers if you want to look for them. To magic and witchcraft (gjörningar) and to sewing circles (sauma "klúbbur").
So we just decided to pick a new name for the international conquering.
You have said before that you wish to remove your personalities from the work of the ILC and the words sterilise, empty, and white are a common thread through your interviews and write-ups.
Sterilise, empty, white.... to us that's the opposite of our work.
Can science and art mix?
It is going on all the time. And people should stop thinking that it isn't.
Does the manner in which you forge a relationship with an audience change with the setting or is it universal? And would you say this invisible relationship is your work rather than the performance, image, or object?
We never rehearse our performances and we very much expect something from the audience, otherwise there would be not point...but our work is our work. Some of it is created within a moment that cannot be done again and some of it is very long lasting. like Mother Earth for example. This piece will stay there for a long time and has no evidence of us in it.
Circus and truth?
Absurdity can point out the most obvious truth.
Would you say that there is anything particularly Icelandic about your work?
Us. And the fact that we work here in this space. We have been using icelandic heritage a bit, like sheepskin shoes and materials like wool and such , but also nylon and video.... I guess that we are not too afraid of nationalism..... but we mean it in a good way. We are hopefully not trying to be supericelandic.
But then we also belong to other groups, we are women, we were born in the seventies, we are white, pretty much healthy, we have all danced to a Dolly Parton song. So being icelandic is just one of these groups that humans belong to.
"...we absolutely don't want to know what exactly it is."
Would you explain what part(if any) aesthetics play in your work? Is it the same as beauty? What is beauty?
We use that word a lot. Fallegt (beautiful) for all kinds of things. I think we are essentially trying to make something beautiful, but we absolutely don't want to know what exactly it is.
What do you think of finding meaning in coincidence?
there must be someone somewhere sitting at the switchboard.
"When we started doing things we were reacting against some boredom that comes with 'high brow' i guess."
Yes, in a way we think they do. Just like it is useful to have some kind of a language, even though it should not be taken for granted or written into some kind of a law, what is what. When we started doing things we were reacting against some boredom that comes with "high brow" i guess. but then we kind of sometimes are a part of "high brow"..... so it is very limiting to think that you belong to some specific department. All the departments kind of rely on each other in some ways. It would be no fun to react against something that wasn't there.
Would you continue from the following sentence?
While anticipating the sunrise, the polar bear… meditated, and then it sneezed.
Where do we go from here?
To where we belong.
Icelandic Love Corporation
ILC (Bjork.com special)
ILC - poetry
ILC - video