OUTPOST - idea to reality
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
Last year Ásbjörg and I played a concert at Skálholt Summer Concerts. It's a festival in Iceland where the artists are invited to stay at the festival area for a few days leading up to their concert. The festival area, Skálholt, is kind of in the middle of nowhere. You need a car if you want to go there. It's a beautiful place, and a perfect place to stay, relax and create. We started talking about the possibilities for us to do something similar in the North of Norway, and thats how we got the idea for OUTPOST.
I, Birgit applied for the "Norsk islandsk kultursamarbeid" and we received a grant so that we could start the project. The project will expand each year and will last five years from 2020-2024. The first year it's only us who are the artists, and then we will invite two new artists each year. So by 2024 we will be ten artists, five from Iceland and five from Norway. Another important part is that we will collaborate with a local group of youths or children's each year. This, the first year, we will work with the composition class MD2A at Bodø videregående skole.
The name OUTPOST came to us when we started talking about the core of the project. We want to make a space where the artists can meet, create, discuss, challenge ourselves and perform. It's both a physical outpost where we meet every year for 10 days in Bodø, but also an abstract outpost to fill our art with. The name is also a political statement saying that we are the outpost of what society accepts and think are the centre of contemporary art.
The contemporary music scene has been changing a lot over the last year, but it's still not where it should be. When we studied composition at the Iceland University of the Arts 2016-2018, we weren't thought by any female composition teachers or any theachers that weren't Icelandic unless we specifically asked for it. At the course "Music from the 21st century" all the example that were discussed were by male composers and only a small minority was not from Europe or North-America. In other words, we were only presented with an extremely small part of what is out there. This made us think about how we can try and change that.
We want to meet composer/performers that are like us, in the early-career stage that are from different traditions then us, that looks different from us and that have different ideas than us. If you look at Iceland and Norway you see two countries that are at the outskirts of Europe. We lead similar politics, reaching for equality and democracy. Thats what OUTPOST is doing too, creating a space where we explore new ways of creating art in the outskirts of Europe, the outskirts of whats presented at contemporary art scenes and in the outskirts of our idea of what a contemporary artist is.