ACTIVITY, CODEPENDENCY AND SINCERITY

This was an exhibition I made on the Icelandic Independence Day. The exhibition was divided into three parts: Activity, Codependency and Sincerity. Each of them looks at freedom from a different angle. I was interested in looking at how the word independence and freedom seem to be owned by certain groups in the Icelandic society and how the parts of freedom and independence that are most valued are the ones that fit to their politics. The right wing government now in power is called the Independence party. Their take on freedom is mostly a financial one. Outside of the gallery I gave out a balloon multiple in 700 additions while the Independence Day parade passed the gallery. I wanted a part of the exhibition to get lost in the crowd and for the sentences to be read completely out of the context of the exhibition. The exhibition was both in English and in Icelandic and I decided not to have the exact same thing in each language. The balloon said: active, more active, most active, free, freer, freest in Icelandic and strive to be free x 3 in English. In Icelandic the world active (virk) is feminine or plural. There is more then one way to look at the text. You can look at it from the personal level to be more active is to be freer. Showing that the word free has tenses shows it has a built in possibility of not being equally distributed. Where do you put yourself on that scale? Another way to look at it would be on the national level. Virk is connected to the word virkjun which is the word used for attaining electricity through dams and to harness the energy in nature. From the national side putting active and free together asks a very young independent country, if that is and should be the basis of our freedom? Our government is playing with the idea of becoming one of the world’s biggest aluminum producers and making aluminum the foundation of our economy. They are bringing in some of the worlds dirtiest companies to do the job. Ironically we are selling them clean energy. There were numerous sticker letterings on the walls in the stairwell coming in to the exhibition that played around with this ownership of freedom and the responsibilities of having freedom.

In the codependent part of the exhibition there are photographs taken at the Icelandic NATO base. They deal with the relationship between personal freedom and the freedom fighter. As we Icelanders like to forget our Independence is solely connected to this particular NATO base. Our freedom was an under the table deal we made with the Americans during the Second World War. They didn’t really feel it was right to go behind the Danes while they where invaded but agreed in the end. Modern Iceland was founded in that soil with Marshall aid from the US. That is where our modern day economy starts. Before that we were pretty much a poor colony of Denmark. Our freedom is young and vulnerable. Everything is OK as long as we are not in the way. Our government signed off on the Iraq war to try to keep the troops here a little longer because the base itself is still an important part of our economy. Now of course the army has left any ways. The word for codependency in Icelandic is usually connected to the codependent behavior of those who live with alcoholics and how they try to make everything seem OK.