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Title: The Vasulka Chamber and Media Art in Iceland
Authors: Ólafsdóttir, Margrét Elísabet
Keywords: Archive
Issue Date: 18-Oct-2017
Abstract: In October 2014 the Vasulka Chamber opened at the National Gallery of Iceland in Reykjavik. The “chamber” is founded on a donation from the video art pioneers, Steina and Woody Vasulka, both Icelandic citizens that have lived and worked in the United-States since the 1960s. The main aim of the Vasulka Chamber is to conserve videos, documents and objects from the Vasulkas. Its long term project is to expand the archive and collect and document Icelandic media art, something no institution has done so fare. This paper will examine the circumstances within which the Vasulka Chamber was founded, and question its future development. It will address the sustainability of the Vasulka Chamber within the National Gallery of Iceland, and the feasibility of archiving media art within the museum. Questioning the Vasulka Chamber’s status permits to reflect on the situation within which media art has developed in Iceland. The subject brings forward the ‘post-colonial’ position of Iceland, the institutional deficit the media art has encountered, and the context within which media art has been practiced and archived in Iceland.
Description: Biography: Margrét Elísabet Ólafsdóttir is an assistant professor in art education at the University of Akureyri. Her research focuses on history of media and visual arts in Iceland in local and global contexts. From 2002 to 2015 she taught courses in Media Art History at the Iceland Academy of Arts and the University of Iceland, where she has also lectured on modern and contemporary art history in France, contemporary art theory and translation. In 2013 she curated the exhibition “Icelandic Video Art from 1975-1990” at the Reykjavik Art Museum which was based on her research on video art in Iceland, and co-curated the exhibition “Perspectives, At the Convergences of Art and Philosophy” also at Reykjavik Art Museum in 2011. Margrét is co-founder of Lorna, association of electronic arts, which has organized different projects in art, science and technology since 2002. She is currently a research partner on MakEY, a European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. She is also working on Steina Vasulka’s biography, and editor of translations of essays in art theory in collaboration with the Institute of Literature and Art History at the University of Iceland.
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