Frá rótum til fóta
Frá rótum til fóta (from roots to feet) is a pop opera that tells the story of activist bumblebees, a woman with climate anxiety and a jade plant in an existential crisis.
Bumble bees have decided to rescue the fate of all living biosphere. Their strategy is to sting people in order to make them aware of human driven eco hazards. A young woman gets stung and refuses to admit that she’s a part of the problem. Everything changes when she gets acquainted with a plant in a pot that demands her to question her ways of living.
The Urban Plant Agenda
hand embroidery, cotton on linen, 200 x 150 cm
Technological progress has provided the human species with remarkable ways and instruments for observing the world: satellites transmitting thermal infrared images to meteorological stations, optical telescopes, electron microscopes and the Hubble space telescope, all allowing us to wander the near universe of our own cells or the distant cosmic space, extending the limits of our visual sphere. But at the middle scale, that of the unassisted eye, our acuity seems diminished, not by any failing of the eyes, but by the will of the mind, too numb from lack of time and patience to perceive the interstices of everyday urban breathing.
Agnes Ársælsdóttir invites us to re-wild our thinking and seeing, to rediscover the non-human nature around us, even in public spaces, to learn from the intelligence of other living bodies participating in the organisation of the ecosystem. Right from her arrival in Slănic, the artist was surprised to see all the walls and sidewalks invaded by plants, elder and pine trees or grass and moss growing through gaps and cracks. She started to document and study them, interested in the way the roots absorb water from the deep through the cement layers.
"In my embroidery, the forest is weaving itself into the fabric of the city using water pipes to transmit the liquid needed by plants to grow - says the artist. Cotton threads are like these invisible roots in action, in concert.”
The Urban Plant Agenda is a symbolic acknowledgement of the resistance of nature against human hubris, but also a subtle analogy for human survival through cooperation in an uncertain future.
Text by curator Simona Nastac
Owned by In Context
Please Watch Your Step
A complexity of species can be found in Klambratún, public park. Some of the plants have been there for half a century, spreading their branches. Others are newer and still rooting. There are those who desire to stay in the park but are immediately uprooted. These grasses don’t give up and grow again next spring.
"Please Watch Your Step" was a guided tour through Klambratún public park. Agnes took on the role of a tour guide and introduced characters of plant species that she had gotten to know during her visits there. The audience got to know each plant in their own respect and maybe themselves along the way. The tour was build up of performative exercises that would increase the feeling of empathy, within the audience and the tour guide, towards other beings in the park.
Photos by Hanne Korsnes
The piece has been reproduced and performed in Nottingham, UK.
Photos by Chiara Giardi
Thank You for Your Time
This piece was made during a two week residency in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. The majority of the time was spent sitting and weaving. The chair that was used became very important to the process. In the end it became the subject of the image to recognise and honour its companionship.
Made from dental floss and old fishing ropes found in Seyðisfjörður.
Where Friends are Made
Groups of friends were asked to speak about the origins of their relationship and why it's important to them.
They were all asked the same five questions:
How did you become friends?
What do you do when you meet?
Do you have any common interests?
Is there anything you both/all dislike?
Why is your friendship important?
The purpose of it was to see how people come together and if there is something in their answers that can be used to generate more empathy into society at large. The video was exhibited as a one channel projection with drawn mind maps on the other walls of the exhibition space that the audience could contribute to.
The video is a 52 minute loop.
The Description Factory
The description factory was a space design to look at the isolate the everyday conversation and try to limit its hierarchies.
Two to five person groups were invited to enter a space where they would have a conversation. A facilitator welcomes them into the space which contains a table and chairs, structure with a roll of topics to discuss and a voice recorder. When the group is seated, the facilitator asks them to rip the next topic of the roll and discuss it. While the group is discussing, the facilitator records and makes sure they stay within a twenty minute timeframe. When the group has finished conversing each member suggests a new topic that they want other groups to talk about. The discussion has no leader so the conversation is free to travel as far as it desires from its original departing point.
Members of the groups come unprepared to the discussion with out knowing the topic beforehand. These circumstances can be intimidating but freeing at the same time as those who normally speak loudest might have to listen and listeners might have to speak depending on the topic at hand. The project brings to light subjects that people are currently occupied with, contemporary spoken language and conversational traditions.
The conversations were archived with participant anonymity, the only information added was date and place.
An excerpt from a conversation the 4th of May 2017 at Iceland University of the Arts:
- Ok, serious discussion about whale hunting.
- I think the problem is that many native people just have it in their tradition, it's been there forever and it's stupid to try to convince them that it's against nature
- I was reading an article that 70 percent of the whales that are eaten in Iceland are eaten by tourists.
- Aren’t you a vegetarian?
- Yeah I was but since I’ve been in Iceland I’ve started eating fish, two days ago I puked because I ate tuna.
- Did you decide to be a vegetarian because of the animals?
- I think it was but more because of the environment and I don't like the capturing and holding of the animals but yeah.
- It's just that, I don’t know, I’m a vegan but I haven’t been eating a lot of vegan things in Iceland because I don't think it is sustainable to be vegan in Iceland. I should just eat seaweed.
- Yes you should, in Chile you eat seaweed straight from the ocean, it’s not a thing everybody does but it's a thing that your grandma tells you to do and you just do it and you don't remember why.
- It's better to wash it and dry right?
- No you can make something like sushi, it's not an European thing, it's more Latin American thing. And there’s like a really long coast in Chile.
- But aren’t there a lot of jungles in Chile?
May 2018 - November 2018
Erasmus+ internship - Artist assistant for Gérald Kurdian.
2015 – 2018
Iceland University of the Arts – BA in Fine Art.
2012 – 2015
Akureyri Comprehensive College – Visual Arts.
In Context 2019 - In Context - Slanic Moldova, Romania.
Paralel Tales - Mengi - Reykjavík, Iceland.
Lokahóf Skapandi sumarstarfa - Gerðarsafn - Kópavogur, Iceland
Stálsmiðjan - Stálsmiðjan - Neskaupsstaður, Iceland
LungA Warm Up Party - Iðnó - Reykjavík, Iceland
UK Young Artist City Take Over - Lake Side Arts - Nottingham, UK.
Self-ish les 2 ans - Le Chinois - Paris, France.
Út á tún - Kjarvalsstaðir - Reykjavík, Iceland.
Allar Leiðir Slæmar - Skaftfell Art Center - Seyðisfjörður, Iceland.
Það er allt svolítið bleikt - The Association of Icelandic Artist's - Reykjavík, Iceland.
Breytileg Brot - Molinn Ungmennahús - Kópavogur, Iceland.
Mother’s Garage – Kópavogur, Iceland.
RAFLOST – Iceland University of the Arts – Reykjavík, Iceland.
Overgangen – Fletta – Oslo, Norway.
Equality days – Reykjavík University – Reykjavík, Iceland.
Roundabout – Algera Studios – Reykjavík, Iceland.
Graduation exhibition of Akureyri Comprehensive College – Ketilhúsið – Akureyri, Iceland.
Kaþarsis // víxlverkun – Populus Tremula – Akureyri, Iceland.
Kvánríki – Populus Tremula – Akureyri, Iceland.
2013 III- Salur Myndlistafélagsins – Akureyri, Iceland.
Solo Exhibitions and –projects:
Þar sem vinir verða til – Hulduland – Reykjavík, Iceland.
Lýsingarframleiðslan - Kópavogur Library - Kópavogur, Iceland.
In Context 2019, Compost edition in Slănic Moldova in Romania.
Please Watch Your Step - Instagram residency and exhibition - The Disgallery - based in Berlin, Germany.
Other projects and Awards:
Led Gérald Kurdians workshop HOT BODIES - CHOIR at IUA for MFA Performing Arts Department.
Glæta – Collaboration with Brynjar Friðrik Pétursson resulted in an EP Album and six videos. Project created in Creative Summer Projects (Skapandi sumarstörf) sponsored by Kópavogur town.
Performed in Hot Bodies of the Future Stand Up by Gerald Kurdian – Everybody’s Spectecular – IÐNÓ- Reykjavík, Iceland.
Sound in interaction - Kuno Course - Konstfack- Stockholm, Sweden.
Bermúda - Collaboration with Hrund Ingvadóttir and Kristín Nanna Einarsdóttir - Kópavogur, Iceland. Project created in Creative Summer Projects (Skapandi sumarstörf) sponsored by Kópavogur town.
Rót - Ketilhúsið, Akureyri Art Museum – Akureyri, Iceland.
The Youth Poet of Akureyri - First prize - Akureyri, Iceland
I would love to hear from you!