Sleppa leiğarkerfi.

Finnbogi Pétursson Harnesses the North Wind

- An Interview

It is a three hours drive from Reykjavík. One passes the small city of Selfoss, drives through very green and fertile landscape before one enters a wide area of nothingness. All the colours have disappeared all of a sudden and as far as one can see the ground is covered with black lava rocks. Only the white-greenish glacier rivers, which dug their way through the fields of stones and black ashes, add some colours to the greyish moonlike scenery. This impressive but inhospitable landscape is the stage for Finnbogi Pétursson’s piece. It is positioned close to the very new hydroelectric power station of Vatnsfell. On the day of the opening - the third of July - the weather conditions are extreme once more. It was very stormy, grey and cold.


Christian Schoen: Two weeks after the opening I am still very impressed by your piece in this very unpleasant surrounding. Can you describe your project?


Finnbogi Pétursson: When I sent in the suggestions for the piece in Vatnsfell I immediately decided to work with what I have chosen to call the heartbeat of electricity: 50 hz. That is the frequency that the alternating current pulsates in. The power plant creates the frequency from water power generating electricity but I use the North wind and convert it to sinus tone. I think it’s ideal to give the viewers the opportunity to experience this frequency by walking inside the piece and basking in it.


CS: This installation reminds me very much of the Diabolus you showed in Venice 2001. What are the most important differences?


FP: The original idea of this piece was dates to the time when I was working on Diabolus so the appearance and function of both pieces are similar. In Diabolus I used two sinus sources. One is electronic which symbolically stands for Now and the times we live in. The other one is air-driven, an organ pipe constructed much as they were in medieval times. Those two tones I mixed together inside a tunnels and the result, the Diabolus, circumfused the viewer. In the piece I was contemplating the censoring by the Church and the Vatican of this particular tonal interval, prohibiting composers from using it. This prohibition was maintained for 200 years. Even though Diabolus is neither not about the Devil nor is an ode to him, these pieces gather a bit in him, because he, along with Thor, has been credited for lightning and electricity.


CS: When you are standing in your installation and look back to the entrance you see a fragment of the landscape, a cut-out like an image. Although your main interest lies in the sound, how important is the view?


FP: Exactly the image that the viewer sees is to the South. I turned the piece a bit so the mountain Loðmundur would be framed in the opening. Behind the mountain there is an old volcano and a the geothermally active area by Landmannalaugar that closes the circle of elements to earth and into the fire.


CS: What role does the landscape play for contemporary art in Iceland?


FP: I think the landscape comes through more strongly in the works of contemporary artists than they are willing to admit. Even though their intentions are not to draw a picture of the mountain it comes through clearly in the concept, texture and feeling. That goes for all artists surroundings, no matter where they choose to live.




See: Finnbogi Pétursson in LIST #2 [June 2005]
and the artist's website:

Finnbogi Pétursson's new artwork near the Vatnsfell hydroelectric poweer station
The mountain Loðmundur framed in the opening of the tunnel

 #3 [July 2005]


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