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Culture

Feature of the Week: A Musical Dialogue

33-year-old composer and conductor Daníel Bjarnason recently got back from Los Angeles from the premier of an original composition commissioned by the L.A. Philharmonic, just in time to conduct La Bohème at the Icelandic Opera.

Feature of the Week: The Icelandic Connection

Since 1919, the Icelandic National League of North America has greatly contributed to North American cultural life while celebrating its members’ heritage. Its current president and Honorary Consul of Toronto, Gail Einarson-McCleery , told Ásta Andrésdóttir about the life of the 19th-century...

Feature of the Week: Remains of the Day

Shedding light on Iceland’s thousand-year history, as manifested in remains ranging from Viking graves to enchanted sites, Mannvist is a fundamental piece of writing. Ásta Andrésdóttir met with its author, archaeologist Birna Lárusdóttir .

Feature of the Week: The Magical World of Saga Sig

Jetting across the globe working for leading publications and designers, London-based fashion photographer Saga Sig has come a long way from her childhood in Iceland’s most sacred place Þingvellir National Park, which is still her greatest source of inspiration.

Feature of the Week: A Cultural Reader

With her sculpture, performance and installation art, Þuríður Rúrí Fannberg —or Rúrí , as she is better known—has been instigating cultural and political discourse for over four decades. A retrospective exhibition of her work currently fills the National Gallery of Iceland.

Feature of the Week: Magic Moments

The lights have been dimmed. The murmur of the people present has faded out. Fifteen hundred people have gathered at Eldborg, the main auditorium at Harpa, Reykjavík’s beautiful new concert hall.

Feature of the Week: Coming Home

Steinunn Sigurðardóttir is standing in the middle of a wide open space with an original worn stone floor, and ceiling windows that allow the sunlight to form ever-changing patterns on the freshly painted white walls. Here, in central Reykjavík’s trendy fish-packing district, she is busy preparing...

Feature of the Week: The Music Man

It is safe to say that Helgi Hrafn Jónsson is a busy man. When he is not working on his own music, he roams the globe performing solo or with acts such as the Icelandic band Sigur Rós and Danish musician Tina Dickow. Among his other recent projects are collaborations with the Danish National...

Feature of the Week: Crossing the Line

My name is Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson and I’m a film director from Reykjavík. I recently made a film, called Á annan veg ( Either Way ), something I had been contemplating and discussing with myself for quite some time. What follows is a dialogue I was asked to have with myself about the process...

Feature of the Week: The Haunted House

Reykjavík's financial and business district, Borgartún, is like many modern cities and hosts a number of grand buildings fronted with dark, glossy glass. Somewhat incongruously set amongst this is a French Art Nouveau house, surrounded by a broad expanse of lawn.

Feature of the Week: Lads of Many Charms

Thirteen days before Christmas the first Yule Lad sneaks into Icelandic homes in the dead of the night to steal candles, food or slam doors—their names indicate their vices—and leave little treats behind in the shoes of well-behaved children. The children eagerly place their shoes on the windowsill...

Feature of the Week: From Within

From small and light aluminum chopsticks (Kina by Dögg Design for Ligne Roset) to a kilometers-long, 18-meter-high avalanche barrier (by Landslag Architects), curled around the mountain slope above the town of Siglufjördur on the north coast of Iceland, Icelandic Contemporary Design covers some 30...

Feature of the Week: Zombie Nation

“ Zombie Iceland is aimed at a tourist looking for something a little different from their travel experience in Iceland. Someone who wants to laugh and feel maybe a little grossed out while they learn about the land of ice,” explains Nanna Árnadóttir, a self-confessed horror flick aficionado, as...

Feature of the Week: Bringing the Noise

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Reykjavík, then you really can’t go any further than Neskaupstadur. But for one weekend in summer, Neskaupstadur is transformed as the village is—for want of a better word—invaded by hordes of metal fans that are looking to listen to some of the...

Feature of the Week: Flourishing

Since 2005, SEEDS has been bringing international volunteers to Iceland for an opportunity to enhance the environment and broaden their inter-cultural learning. Mica Allan learned how one small organization is making a big impact on both urban and rural Iceland.

Feature of the Week: Man of the People

At Ásmundarsafn Museum, never before exhibited sketches and drawings shed new light on Iceland’s beloved sculptor, the visionary Ásmundur Sveinsson who was inspired by nature, folklore and literature, but first and foremost by ordinary people.

Feature of the Week: A Family Feast on a Budget

One night in Reykjavík, I decided to treat myself to dinner out. The question was where to dine. I returned like a homing pigeon to 3 Frakkar (Three Overcoats) on Baldursgata 14. By all accounts, it’s a great seafood restaurant. But how would I know? My dinner fantasy is their mountain lamb.

Feature of the Week: In the Name of the Rose

To say that Kristín Gunnlaugsdóttir ’s latest artwork is striking would be an understatement. Her raw, sexually charged images of naked women, sewn with yarn on fencing canvas, are a shocking departure from her dreamlike, detailed paintings inspired by the iconography tradition. She told Ásta...

Feature of the Week: Taking the Lead

After a two-year hiatus, legendary Icelandic dance merchants GusGus have released their seventh album Arabian Horse (Kompakt). GusGus was initially formed in 1995 as an art collective combining beats, film and visual art. Sixteen years later, the ever relevant ensemble has toured the world, mixed...

Feature of the Week: Viking Woman Explorer

Born in Iceland in the late 900s, her life was filled with both adventure and tragedy. She was the first Christian woman to bear a child in America; she walked across Europe to meet the Pope in Rome. And now, a thousand years later, the extraordinary explorer Gudrídur Thorbjarnardóttir has returned...

Feature of the Week: Restoring Glory

In 2007, a few of Reykjavík’s oldest architectural gems were destroyed in a fire. Now these landmarks have been restored to their original glory, allowing the heart of the city center to pulsate with life while honoring the craftsmanship of a bygone era.

Feature of the Week: Horse Power

Loyal and friendly, strong and tenacious, it has carried the nation on its four sturdy legs through a thousand years of history. This summer, the Reykjavík Art Museum celebrates the Icelandic horse in all its glory, with works by the nation’s leading artists spanning more than a century. The...

Feature of the Week: Still Life

With his minimalist, visual style, often blurring the line between the natural and the supernatural, in the last 30 years Gyrdir Elíasson has quietly established himself among Iceland’s literary greats. This year, he will be awarded the prestigious Nordic Council Literature Prize for his 2009...

Feature of the Week: Reaching the Peak

Colorful sketches, posters and prototypes juxtaposed with decades-old cauldrons, clocks and cabinets reminiscent of a Cold War film; men and women building, designing, creating. Welcome to Toppstödin Station, a center of innovation located in an abandoned power station—a shining example of positive...

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