Cut: Collective Thoughts

South Iceland Biennale
The Nordic House 19.11.2022

On Saturday 19 November a group of artists, musicians, designers, architects and scholars will gather at the Nordic House to offer a varied program throughout the day.

Participation is open to all.

The program starts with a walk at 11:00 AM from the clearing by the entrance to the Nordic House and visitors are encouraged to dress according to the weather. The walk raises questions about places and spaces in the urban landscape and ends back at the Nordic House where hot soup will be on offer in the clearing.

The program continues at 1:30 PM in the auditorium of the Nordic House with an introductionon to the South Iceland Biennale. Symposium and discussions focus on the arts and how interdisciplinary approaches can meet the challenges of our time which are varied and numerous: sustainability, energy use, globalization, innovation, global warming, the imbalance of power and economy.

The symposium is concluded with light refreshments and informative discussions about the role and methods of art in meeting the future.

11.00 – 13.00  Participatory walk from the Nordic House

13.00 – 13.30 Soup in the clearing next to the Nordic House

13.30 – 14.00 Introduction to the South Iceland Biennale Manifesto SIB

14.00 – 16.00 Expansion – Symposium

Input from Guests:

Johanna Seeleman, designer

Marteinn Sindri Jónsson, philosopher

Gudrún Havsteen-Mikkelsen, designer

Óskar Örn Arnórsson, arkitekt

Moderator: Garðar Eyjólfsson

16.00 – 17.00 Salon and discussions

South Iceland Biennale (SIB) is a live-art venue for sharpening our focus on humanity’s relationship to nature and the environment at a precarious time. SIB involves creating a platform involving the arts, design and architecture disciplines for multidisciplinary discussions on ways to meet the future. Annual events are held in the south of Iceland, at the edge of the highlands where culture and nature collide. Space is created for creative dialogue with focus on care to society, the environment, and the uncertainty that now confronts humanity.

The program is supported by Iceland Visual Arts Fund.

The South Iceland Biennale is a live-art venue for sharpening our focus on humanity’s relationship to environments at a precarious time. The goal of the South Iceland Biennale is to support progressive, critical discussion across the fields of art, design, and architecture. The focus will be on rural areas with special emphasis on South Iceland and its inland and highland areas.

Testing Grounds is where ideas for the South Iceland Biennale will be researched and developed. Themes and ideology are explored in experimental workshops. Themes emerging from the Testing Ground will inform the curatorial approach for the biennales. Themes will reflect current issues, be internationally recognized, and impact the local environment.

South Iceland Biennale

The South Iceland Biennale builds relationships. From a home base at the historic farm Stóri-Klofi in the Landsveit district, collaborations will be launched with art museums, galleries, schools, and other cultural institutions in South Iceland. Local knowledge and creative fields will be brought together for the purpose of exploring new ways of meeting the challenges of the future: environmental issues, sustainability, land conservation, innovation, food security, energy use, tourism, globalism, global warming, rapid technological development, social change, racism, and political and economic inequality.

We have founded an art movement aimed at promoting dialogue and interaction on key current topics in the arts, design, and architecture in an international context. We believe that the arts will play a leading role in the transformations that are needed in order to cope with the man-made predicament that confronts world civilization. Through exhibitions, education, conferences, discussions, publications, and events, the South Iceland Biennale will make every effort to deepen the conversation about contemporary battle lines and apply artistic methods towards innovation and the development of knowledge infrastructures.

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For enquiries send mail to:

Björk Hrafnsdóttir

Testing Grounds


Cut: Collective Thoughts, Nordic House November 2022


Stalker Walk Rome, September 2022

Testing Grounds 2.0, September 2022

Stalker Walk Iceland, August 2022

Testing Grounds - The Beginning, September 2021

Think Tank, Stóri-Klofi, September 2019


We live on the fringes of world civilization in a sparsely populated, rugged country just below the Arctic Circle, in a marginally habitable environment. The future lies in sparsely-populated, marginal areas: Rural areas will be front and centre at the South Iceland Biennale. As an ever-greater portion of humanity moves to cities, 98% of earth’s surface lies outside the main urban limits; its development will have a decisive effect on the future of earthly habitation. While brain drain flows from rural to urban areas, rural areas in most regions of the world are seeing far-reaching changes, driven largely by new technologies, in the utilization of natural resources. The relationship of developed areas to the natural environment in Iceland offers a unique opportunity to examine a local context in the light of global challenges.
The idea for the South Iceland Biennale grew out of a collaboration with the owners of the Stóri-Klofi property, where the biennial will have the use of a defunct fox-fur farm and a 100-year-old sheep-house. Stóri-Klofi, in the Landsveit district, is a point of convergence between the highland frontier, the river Þjórsá, Mount Hekla, mountainous recreational areas, popular tourist sites along Route 1 and the terrain surrounding the Búrfell Hydropower Station. Here, at the limit of the habitable world, urgent questions emerge about humanity’s relationship to its environment and its future. From this location, the biennial will promote collaboration with museums, galleries, and educational institutions in South Iceland to create a consortium. Proximity to the capital-city region offers opportunities for delving into sustainability, conservation, new technologies, and the man-made environment. The emphasis will be on local residents’ input and the use of local knowledge and experience in knowledge development.

The Founders

Ósk, Sigrún, and Garðar began collaborating in summer 2020, in the middle of a pandemic. Their motive was the window that had opened in the wake of the pandemic: Assumptions had been shattered; the world was upside-down. Unprecedented times meant a pressing need to gauge the situation and seize the opportunity that this window offered. The idea struck a chord: Artists, designers, and architects agreed on the need for a critical, creative venue. The South Iceland Biennale became the foundation for an artistic movement aimed at examining our relationship to the rest of the world and our future.


Garðar Eyjólfsson holds an B.A (Honours) degree in Product Design from Central Saint Martins, London and a M.A (Cum Laude) Contextual Design from Design Academy Eindhoven. He mixes contextual, critical and narrative research in his work as a means to explore & translate zeitgeist topics. Utilizing a variety of mediums to manifest his voice, ranging from; artefacts, scenography, curation, fiction, video, performance, dialog and writing.

Garðar is heavily involved in academia. He was the program director of BA Product Design at the Iceland University of the Arts (2012-2017) and program director of MA Design Explorations & Translations program (2017-2020) at the same institution. In addition, Garðar also lectures and conducts workshops in various universities across the globe. Balancing academia with studio practices his work ranges from developing his own projects, curating exhibitions, advising in the public and private sector, project managing and conducting workshops. Garðar also writes in various publications and gives public talks across platforms, often in the form of lectures and dialog in conferences, symposium, and radio.


Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir works in diverse media, as her work demands: painting, video, sculpture, photography, book works, and text. She is interested in visible and invisible boundaries, including those dividing internal / external, private / public, human being / natural world, child / adult. Over the last twenty years she has produced a series of works in collaboration with teenagers. Adolescents teeter on the line where adult ideas blend with childhood. Ósk is founder and director of the Wanderlust highland-tours company and, in collaboration with artist Margrét H. Blöndal, established the Nature School for children and teens. Ósk has organized and joined in myriad actions to protect Iceland’s central highlands. From 2003 to 2006 she organized treks north of the glacier Vatnajökull, in areas that now have vanished underneath the power-station lagoon Hálslón. Ósk has shown her work in museums and galleries in Iceland and abroad and enjoyed artist residencies around the world. She took part in the work of the Living Art Museum and chaired its board from 2000  to 2002.


Sigrún Birgisdóttir is Professor in Architecture at Iceland University of the Arts. In 2007 she became Director of architectural studies at the Iceland University of the Arts. From 2012 to 2019 she served as Dean of the Department of Design and Architecture at IUA. Previously she worked with Pierre d´Avoine Architects, Cherie Yeo Architecture and Design and Pip Horne Studio in London together with being a Senior Lecturer in Spatial Design at New Bucks University. From 2015 to 2019 she advised on education and policy-development in the promotion of creative fields in Israel for the CLEVER project. In 2008 she co-founded Vatnavinir (Friends of Water) to develop comprehensive spatial strategies for wellness tourism in Iceland based on sustainable use of natural resources. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Iceland engaging in the critical examination of territorial change and the wider urban transformation processes of rural areas at times of increased tourism in Iceland.      


Aðalheiður L. Guðmundsdóttir
Björk Hrafnsdóttir
Bryndís Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
Freyja Reynisdóttir
Garðar Eyjólfsson
Giulia Fiocca
Hlökk Þrastardóttir
Hannes Lárusson
Lorenzo Romito
Joe Keys
Kolbeinn Hringur Bambus Einarsson
Laufey Jakobsdóttir
Marie Kraq
María Dalberg
Maríanna Dúfa Sævarsdóttir
Martha Lyons Haywood
Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir
Óskar Örn Arnórsson
Pétur Eggertsson
Ragnhildur von Weisshappel
Sigrún Birgisdóttir
Sigrún Hrólfsdóttir
Silfrún Una Guðlaugsdóttir
Silja Jónsdóttir
Sólbjört Vera Ómarsdóttir
Sólveig María Gunnarsdóttir
Tara Njála Ingvarsdóiir
Tinna Guðmundsdóttir
Tinna Gunnarsdóttir
Unnar Örn
Vikram Pradhan
Vilhjálmur Yngvi Hjálmarsson
Þórunn Dís Halldórsdóttir
Þráinn Hjálmarsson

Background Art: DALL-E Explorations - Translations from Garðar Eyjólfsson Short Design Fiction UN/INHABITABLE

Logo Design: Janosch Bela Kratz