A letter from the new Director of Nes Listamiðstöð.

Melody Woodnutt. Film Still, 2011.

Artist residencies are by nature transient, ephemeral, intensive, and inspiring.

Bursts of immediate insights, light, and energy pops our eyes out when we see things newly and differently. The act of observation, noticing, influences, and our bodys´ presence in space and place offers us the gift of new ideas and new life. It is something valuable to experience a new place, and to try and adjust ourselves, to adapt. To join in, to be.

I have been an artist in residence here at Nes twice before; this time I am here to direct it. 2.5 weeks ago I flew across the world from Australia to work in the directors chair. I did it for the love I have for Skagaströnd and for Iceland, for the landscapes, and for the glowing and ever changing light here. Of course; also for the people, whom I have such respect for. They are kind, ambitious and proactive in the most astounding way for such a small village, the remoteness and dramatic weather is tackled head on. Nothing is impossible here, unless nature dictates otherwise, and here you must always respect nature first, because she will not respect you.

It is all because this place has something. Something so unique, I can´t describe it nor should I. I can only work hard here to develop the residency into a deserving cultural and artistic hub, reflective of Icelands´ thriving and saturated arts climate. With ideas and projects current and future exciting me to jump in, I have to remember to drink tea to calm the charged headaches that come from thinking so much. This is the land of the willing indie crowds and of the enduring fisherman, and with the combination of artistic and enduring strong traits embedded in Icelands´ Viking descendants, I will have much to learn and keep up with.

I approach the residency like I approach my own art works. As an environment to house emotions, mood, the body, and to create a circumstance for action to happen. I am an inter-disciplinary artist that transforms spaces into a place to come and be, to react, to sit, to feel. My installation works are 360°, they involve sound, darkness, light, mixed media, sculpture, and performance, with an emphasis on sensory elements. They are often housed in galleries, theatres, or terrain vague. Mostly, they exist for us to immerse ourselves and our bodies into a new environment so we might learn something new about ourselves. So as to feel something, recognise something, or experience something foreign or unexpected. For us to be acutely aware of our surroundings, and to draw out what we will within ourselves from those surroundings.

Much the same as my art work, I hope to provide a space at the residency that is supportive and conducive to this ethos. To provide a space where artists can come to experiment, explore themselves and their work, and find something new or unexpected. A place where artists go through emotions, feel the environment around them, and react.

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.


Bestu kveðja,

Melody Woodnutt

Director, Nes Artist Residency.



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