Research photo from Reykjavik harbour. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Research photo from Reykjavik harbour. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

 

Keep Frozen is an art-practice-as-research project that reached its highpoint in early 2016. Starting as early as in 2010 with an very personal gut feeling and urge for researching childhood memories of the aesthetics of living on the harbour, on the docks and by the sea, the project later developed into having a more broader focus on harbour aesthetics in general and more specifically the heart of those aesthetics: dock labour, movements and materiality.

The research reached variety of locations along the Atlantic Ocean; to the isolated West fjords of Iceland; to New York City; to Islamic North-Africa and to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland; to a forgotten unloading port; to ancient trade centre; to abandoned beaches; mid amongst the dock workers and to a village of 166 inhabitants.

Research photograph from Essaouira, Morocco. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Research photograph from Essaouira, Morocco. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

 
Sculpture from Keep Frozen part one @ De-Construkt, NY. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Sculpture from Keep Frozen part one @ De-Construkt, NY. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

 
Video still from Keep Frozen part one installation video @ De-Construkt, NY. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Video still from Keep Frozen part one installation video @ De-Construkt, NY. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Research photo from Bildudalur, Iceland. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Research photo from Bildudalur, Iceland. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

 

During the research there were also important experimentation and reflections in the studio in Berlin but even more importantly research conducted through series of public exhibitions, events and publications and the dialogue with the audience that came as a result of that public outreach.

The research process up to early 2015 is described in The Story, a collaborative text between the artist and German curator Berit Schuck, that was printed in the the publication Keep Frozen: Art-practice-as-research. The artist´s view, a collection of articles and images edited by the artists herself.  Up to then public parts of the research project had been Keep Frozen part zero, a single channel video work, Keep Frozen part one, a mixed media installation event, and Keep Frozen part two, also a mixed media exhibition. 

The book publication was launched at Pro qm in Berlin at the 2015 Berlin Art Week and the following year Keep Frozen Projects became the highpoint of the research project. With symposiums and practical showing of artistic research of other artists the approach to the issue of the artist´s view of art practice as research was broadened up to become a discussion that included all artists and artists works.  For further information about Keep Frozen Projects see www.keepfrozenprojects.org

It also included the most ambitious Keep Frozen exhibitions up to date the 48-hour dock worker performance and Labour Move, a mixed-media video installation at Kunstkraftwerk, Leipzig and Keep Frozen part four, a mixed-media installation at ASI art museum in Iceland.

In April 2016 the feature length documentary Keep Frozen premiered in the 'Regard Neuf' competition category at Visions du Réel in Switzerland.

 
Keep Frozen began as a journey into the unknown. When I started working on this project, I did not know that it would become an ongoing research project about different harbour cities along the Atlantic coast, visual art as a medium and its relation to our society. Neither did I know I would begin the research in Bíldudalur, a small fishing village in the Westfjords of Iceland, and Reykjavík, and that I would later extend it to include Essaouira, an old harbour city on the West Coast of Morocco, and Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City. Initially, I simply had the intuition that I should spend some time in an Icelandic fishing village in order to explore my idea of such a place and compare my childhood memories with the current situation. But why Iceland? What made me want to visit a fishing village? And why at this moment in my life?

CLOSE-UP ON A SHOP WINDOW THAT MIRRORS THE ARTIST’S FACE. SOMEWHERE IN BERLIN-MITTE. GREYISH LIGHT. STREET NOISE MIXES WITH THE SOUND OF THE COLD WINTER RAIN.

On April Fools’ Day 2009, I moved to Berlin. I was a thirtysomething artist from Iceland who had completed her studies in anthropol- ogy, design and visual art, travelled the world and lived in many different cities.
— Berit Schuck/Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir from 'The Story' published in Keep Frozen. Art practice as research. The artist´s view.
Audience performance. Keep Frozen part one @ De-Construkt, NY. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir

Audience performance. Keep Frozen part one @ De-Construkt, NY. Photo: Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir