Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Niceland # 27 - Goodbye Iceland

Today, I leave Iceland bound for the United States. It's a mid-August afternoon. I will definitely miss living amongst the moss covered lava fields. 

Iceland attracts people for a multitude of different reasons; I was inspired to move to Reykjavik in 2009 to pursue an animated film project inspired by the local natural landscape of Iceland.  I arrived in the early Fall. The city turns into a of wash of blue, a precursor to the endless darkness of Winter.

The vast moss-covered lava fields, black sands of the uninhabitable volcanic highlands, and fog-saturated fjords make up the unique appearance of this northern Atlantic island. The loud and emotional quality of Iceland’s sharp, barren landscapes provided a backdrop for my animated film production. Playing with the tension between portraiture and landscape, the film expanded the relationship between space and object. 
Beyond the considerable increase of woollen clothing in my wardrobe, the experience of living in Reykjavik has had a tremendous impact on my personal identity. Without travel, intelligence stagnates.  The experience of living in a foreign country can be a terrifying and marginalizing experience. There’s an invisible glass that separates people by social identities, ideologies, language and cultural histories.  The fruits of these challenges bare new perspectives, illuminate once-invisible nuances, and widen cultural sensitivities. 

While the barriers can be overwhelming, it takes time to appreciate the similarities. In the grander scheme, culture is culture and history is history. Although Icelandic society is different from that in America, people are fundamentally the same. There’s a shocking universality that ties us together.

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