The project is an one hour long site-specific opera that reconstructs the first and only revolution in Icelandic history. To capture the essence of this failed revolution on an arctic island, they will travel to the desolate volcanic island of Jan Mayen, which sits in the middle of the Atlantic, 600 km north of Iceland. There, we will film a performers attempt to conquer the island by performing fragments of the opera while roaming the island and climbing its only mountain, a 2600m active stratovolcano. This parallels the story of Jorgen Jorgenssen, a Danish defector commanding an English merchant ship, who in 1809 declared himself chief protector of Iceland for 40 days in a remarkably failed attempt at liberating the nation from the colonial oppression of Denmark. After capturing the capital with six soldiers, Jorgenssen proceeded on a journey across the island to drum up support for his revolution only to be met with the deaf ears of a society beaten down by centuries of colonization. During this journey he missed the arrival of further English forces in Reykjavik who arrested him upon his return on charges of breaking military rank by not appointing his highest ranking military officer as a ruler. As a a result of this breach in protocol, Iceland was once again returned to Danish oppression only to receive independence 135 years later.
The opera is constructed from a set of music and video modules, many of which have accurately timed camera movement. At the Watermill Center, we will prepare a live performance version of 15 minutes from the piece in order to experiment with how these modules fit together and what sort of camera movements are most effective for live mixing of pre-recorded materials (test footage shot at Schloss Solitude) and live footage captured during performance.
Halldór Úlfarsson (Icelandic, b.1977) is an artist working in installation, video, performance and other medium. Halldór's work falls roughly into two categoriesesthetic studies and artworks that observe their own underlying motives and intents. His specialization in dolly