The slow, hypnotic rhythm of a hand’s repetitive movement meets the visitors at the entrance to the Hallgrímskirkja church as two screens on both sides of the church entrance show the video artwork Connection (2012) by the Icelandic artist Sigurður Guðjónsson (b. 1975). The video’s sounds and black and white images create dreamlike or even nightmarish associations and appear as a meditation on motion, material and sound.
Guðjónsson has created a number of video works that create spaces that thematize tactility, affect the senses and draw the viewer close. They interact with the surroundings – as it is also the case with the work exhibited in the in the Hallgrímskirkja church – and contribute to turning the exhibition space into a Gesamtkunstwerk where sound, image, architecture, and function form a synthesis.
In the work Connection (2012) sound and image are out of sync, which creates an alternative space. In its interplay with the church space the work points to the church as a space of unique temporality and practice within the city space. French cultural historian and philosopher Michel Foucault has called such alternative spaces heterotopias (1984). These spaces are characterized by being clearly separated from the surroundings, they can encourage experiences of accumulated spatial levels (e.g. the metaphysical and earthly world) and alternative tempi when entering them – in this case a slowing down – and finally they represent a clear function in relation to the surrounding culture: The church functions as a place of worship, a space for the gathering of a religious community and performances of rites and rituals.
The video work is dark, focused, repetitive, and
hypnotic whereby it supports the air of tranquillity of
the church space as a place of contemplation and
introspection. The video focuses on the tactility of the
handling and stroking of the rings, which turns them
into a simple but effectual instrument – producing
sounds not unlike those of Tibetan prayer bells. These
aspects also create associations to the church’s.