Constitution of Iceland
For this work we collaborated with the composer Karólína Eiríksdóttir. We commissioned Karólína to write a piece of music in which all 81 articles of the constitution would be sung. The piece is scored for soprano, baritone, piano, double bass and mixed choir and was premiered by soprano Ingibjörg Gudjónsdóttir, baritone Bergþór Pálsson, pianist Tinna Porsteinsdóttir, double-bass player Gunnlaugur Torfi Stefánsson and the chamber choir Hymnodia, conducted by Eypór Ingi Jónsson. We made the performers’ t-shirts. With this work we wanted to publicly reflect on the constitution, but also decontextualise it by transforming it into something else – a piece of music and a performance. As a result of this alienating move the constitution is revealed in a different light. The work was premiered at Ketilhúsid in Akureyri on 15 March, 2008, and the performance was a part of the art exhibition Bæ bæ Ísland at the Akureyri Art Museum.
In 2008 the work was nominated for the category of best musical composition of the year at the Icelandic Music Awards.
In 2011 we made a video in collaboration with the National Icelandic Broadcasting Service and co-produced by Hafnarborg Art Center. it was shot at the NIBS studios in February 2011. It documents a studio performance of the piece including lunch and coffee breaks, the TV studio, signing of the contract between the artists and the INBS, the TV production team at work, as well as some of the offices in the building, including the directors, and the people at work there. The artists worked with an open set of rules in their dialogue with the TV producer to de-standardise the rules of the TV – creating an experimental piece that subverts and unveils the structure of a TV program. A dialogue that was a real struggle between the artists’ views and those of the TV station, and which was at the brink of collapse throughout the whole process several times. The idea of working with the TV and broadcasting the piece came from the artists wish of getting this work into a mass media platform to reach people beyond the art context, due to its present importance in Icelandic society, as a form of an active socio-sculptural intervention.
In February 2011, the video was broadcast twice nationally on TV and could be viewed as well on the INBS internet’s page for several days, planned to coincide with the first meetings of the democratically elected Constitutional Assembly, which task was to draft a new constitution. The work was produced for and presented at the artists’ solo show at Hafnarborg Art Center and at the Icelandic Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennial.