Material Puffin

HD, 00:06:28, 16:9 single-channel video loop, 2014.

Premiered as part of mixed-media installation Keep Frozen part two at Thoka gallery, Reykjavik during the Reykjavik Art Festival. Screened at various video festivals and also in 2016 as part of the mixed-media installation Keep Frozen part four at ASI Art Museum in Reykjavik.

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

The gentrification process of downtown Reykjavik has exhilarated in the last five years or so in a highly visible process where shops and services downtown that catered to the local population have been replaced by shops and services catering for tourists. What has come to become the symbol for this change is the Puffin or more precisely the phrase 'Puffin shops' referring to overstuffed shop windows where puffins in all shape and sizes and customs have aggressively taken over the sight at eye level. What is interesting is that the puffin was never important in the psyche of the Icelandic identity or nationalistic narrative. It was thrusted upon Icelanders from the outside as the most important authenticity symbol of the country. A puffin teddy is used to characterize the experience of the visit although actual puffins are not really anywhere in sight, largely due to their decreasing numbers.

 
 
Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

In 'Material Puffin' the artist revisits a character that he had used in a work from 2006: 'Don´t Feed Them After Midnight. The cult of the cute gremlin puffin'. It was timely to let the 'artist as puffin' character resurface as the issue that was being addressed back then had become more visible and more talked about. Back then the first puffin teddies, souvenirs had been surfacing, unnoticed by most. In retrospect the work was thus a prophecy of the process that was about to take course in Reykjavik. Fast forwarding to the most recent work, Keep Frozen artistic research project, the artist as puffin was led out to play once again but this time being lost in the gentrified Reykjavik harbour where artists are playing key role in the gentrification process.

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'

Still from 'Material Puffin'