Visions and Divides in Icelandic Contemporary Art
by Margrét Elísabet Ólafsdóttir
Ólafsdóttir depicts a digital dynamic characteristic of the adaptation of digital technology in the context of Icelandic society, located in the divide between scepticism and enthusiasm in attitude to new technology. Based on her curatorial involvement in the Icelandic art scene and historical research, she explains how this divide has translated into two coexisting discourses in the Icelandic art scene: on the one hand, technological vision and the formation of a ‘media art scene’; and on the other hand, artistic evolvement in the more established scene of ‘contemporary art’. She argues that this dynamic has resulted in a dominant nonmedia specific attitude to contemporary art, which consequently has not benefitted from experience through an experimental phase with new technology (unlike other Nordic and international art contexts). Olafsdottir’s chapter evokes a concern with dichotomy and distinction between fields and phenomena that beyond her analysis located in the context of Icelandic art is critical to how knowledge evolves and results in practice in Western epistemology and co-evolution of culture and technology in society and the world at large.