Jean-Marie Oriot

ICELANDIC WALKABOUT

a sound poem

What would it be like to have the memory of a place you’ve never been before ?
Put your headphones on, close your eyes and take a walk with me.

If you wish to receive the audio file of this Icelandic Walkabout, for free, I’m happy to send you a link to download it.
All you have to do is choose the format you’d like to get. AIF (high quality, 77Mo) or MP3 (lower quality, 14,7Mo), enter your email adress, then click Send. Both formats are compatible with most audio player devices and phones.

— Curious? Here’s the story behind :

In august 2018 I attended the
Ágúst Residency, organized and hosted by Islandic artist Hallveig Ágústsdóttir in the natural surroundings of Borgarfjörður on the west coast of Iceland.
I came there with a pretty concrete idea of what I wanted to work on. As soon as I saw where we were, I ditched all my plans. I like when nature let me see the small in the big and the big in the small. My daily walks in the surroundings of the Snæfellsnes peninsula were overwhelming in that sense. During the first days of the residency, I collected sounds of my numerous walkabouts in the region, as well as small materials, sketches and thoughts, without really knowing what I would do with all this. I was experiencing not only a physical connection to this land, but also a strange feeling of some kind of memory that I couldn’t explain, as it was my first time in Iceland.
After a few days, I realized that the Snaefellsjökull, cutting out the horizon of the peninsula, was the glacier where the action of Jules Verne’s novel « Journey towards the center of the Earth » is supposed to take place. I smiled, as I remembered reading that book when I was 10 and always wanted to visit Iceland since then. The only thing is that at that age, I thought it was a fictional country. As I grew up, the longing of an imaginary land, was slowly replaced by the deception that Iceland was just another country, used as a canvas for the author’s poetic imagination. But seeing that moutain with my own eyes suddenly made all my childhood paradigm — that the world was a wonder — came back to the surface.
With the 3 other artists of Ágúst Residency, I went hiking on the slopes of the Snaefellsjökull on a wet and very windy day. The spectacular power of nature, the old snow covered volcano, showing up like a moon patched with lichens and brave scattered tiny flowers, whipped by a razor sharp wind and icy rain woke up the 10 year old version of me. This experience gave me the reason and the meaning of all the sounds and materials I’ve been gathering the first days of the residency. So I finally had a sens of direction and decided to mix some of the sounds with some of my thoughts. I put together a small performance for my fellow residents in the shape of a short walk, headphones on, ending up eyes closed. The sound you listen here is a reworked version of the original site-specific sound. I’m happy to share this little journey with you.

Jean-Marie