Atli Bollason

Term: August-October 2021

Atli Bollason (b. 1985 in Reykjavík) holds an MA in English Literature from Concordia University, Montréal and a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Iceland.

Every new media technology claims to carry its message objectively. But this is wishful thinking. Technological fingerprints are everywhere, not only in the literal distortions of colour and motion we observe, for instance, in different video formats but in the cultural and historical connotations that come with such distortions. As Marshall McLuhan so pointedly observed, “the medium is the message,” every new medium introduces a new sort of syntax and the effects of new media on human sensory capacities and our symbolic order override the actual content they relay. 

In an attempt to foreground these effects, my art is often made up of modulated video noise (static, snow). Noise is a message without content, so it turns the viewer’s attention to the limitations and fingerprints of media technologies. Such limitations can nevertheless be creative avenues to follow; a blizzard of black and white can become a source of all sorts of colours and shapes.

Furthermore, creative uses of outdated technologies fascinate me because–once obsolete–they are free from their intended purpose. They become a site of play, experimentation and beauty, paying no service to the economy. Therein lies radical potential: by rejecting the value system of capital we can attempt to create meaning or affect from that which is worthless.

Selected works and exhibitions:

2021    “Rofar til.” Interactive installation at Raflost Festival, Reykjavík.

2020              “Visual percussive acid for video, bass synthesizer and drums.” Semi-improvised performance in Mengi, Reykjavík (with Magnús Trygvason Eliassen).

2020              “Unfiled – skjáskot.” Exhibition in Ásmundarsalur, Reykjavík (with Guðmundur Úlfarsson).

2020              “Snowscapes.” Exhibition of oil paintings in Gallerí Port, Reykjavík.

2020              “Sjónsmíð 1.” Video installation in Nordic House, Reykjavík (part of Dark Music Days).

2019 – 2020    Experimental audiovisual workshop in Mengi, Reykjavík (with Guðmundur Úlfarsson).

2019              Artist residency at Signal Culture, new media institution in Owego, NY.

2018    “The Schneer.” Exhibition of images on silk, at Bismút gallery, Reykjavík.

2018    “Fivefiles.” EP under the alias Allenheimer.

2017    Co-writer and lyricist of Two Trains, an album by Högni, released by Erased Tapes.

2017    Directed the music video ‘End Time’ by DAÐI.

2016    Directed the music video ‘Blush’ by Pocket Disco.

2016    “Snow Motion.” Series of twenty photographs and a video installation in Gallerí Port, Reykjavík.

2016    “Harpa Light Organ.” Interactive light installation on the façade of Harpa Music Hall, Reykjavík.

2016    “Video Hailstorm (VHS).” Installation in Mengi, Reykjavík.

2015    Ensemble cast member in O, Brazen Age, a feature film by Alexander Carson.

2014    “Spor.” Short story, published in Tímarit Máls og menningar 3/2014.

2014    “PONG.” Interactive light installation on the façade of Harpa Music Hall, Reykjavík (with Owen Hindley).

2013    “Sandy’s Gallery.” Short story, published in Headlight Anthology 16.