we, the romantics


there is nothing more intense than human beings – prof. john donohue

i spend two months on a residency  in olafsfjordur, a small fishing village seven hours north of reykjavik.  with a population of 824 people, one is easily identifiable as an ‘outsider’.  It was summertime and therefore twenty four daylight.  i walked on average five hours a day, through the volcanic landscape, sometimes at 2 in the morning, with the sun high in the sky.  i barely saw another sole, but when i did, i sensed an immediate intesity.

after a couple of weeks i met Odda and Thron Fridrick who sat behind the old mechanice-now-artists-resiency outside a fishing shed, weaving and stitching nets. Later i met Fridrick. Odda and Thron  told me they had ‘escaped’ reykjavik due to mass tourist invasion, and they wanted a sea change.  Odda is a writer and is partnered with Thron. They are relieved and happily living in the village and have no inclination to return to the ‘high-life’ down south.

I met Fredrick sitting outside the cafe. he said he wears the balaclava for fun, as it was summer and its not cold.  he is on school holidays and tells me he and all the kids have mandatory duties to complete for duration of holidays. the are employed by the local council and work from 8-12 daily, doing road work, weeding graves, or laying concrete pavements. they receive a wage. fredrick told me he was born here and lives with his family.  i asked Fridrick if he has any dreams about leaving ‘home’ and going to reykjavik or perhaps abroad.  he looks at me through the rips in his mask, shook his head, he said, why would  I want to do that? in a thick accent. that would be insane.


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