A diary from inside the end


In the beginning of each new week we publish a story about the week that just passed at the LungA School. It is written from the inside and can be about anything. That’s all. This is the twelfth and last chapter:


I am outside. It is morning and I am walking towards the hostel that has been my home for the past three months. During the night the rain has made the snow disappear and left a glistening floor of ice behind for me to walk on.

I know that when I get up there the house will be quiet and dark – and completely empty. Because an hour before walking here I hugged and said goodbye to the last student to leave the town, just before he crawled into the small bus that would take him to the airport.

Never in my life have I seen somebody travelling with so much luggage as him. Speakers, a keyboard, two major bags, two backpacks, a camera bag, a pillow and some of the drawings and paintings he created while been at the school.

I teased him about it and realized that I am going to miss that and all his other oddities. I going to miss knocking on his door to wake him up in the morning, and I am going to miss his comments about me eating like his grandfather, when I eat of my knife instead of the fork at dinner.

Just like I am going to miss all the other students and their human oddities.

I am going to miss looking at their grumpy faces with my own grumpy face in the morning while eating porridge, drinking coffee and struggling to wake up. And I am going to miss their little specific sounds and grunts, their dancing to Beyoncé at all times, their stupid, internal jokes, their screaming in the hallway at night, their bravery, their Egyptian Rat Slapping, their feet dragging across the floor, and passing them the salt and pepper every second minute. And I am going to miss their presence in the sauna, their slowness when picking out vegetables at lunch, their discussion about feminism and pubic hair, their big white Toshiba, their smell of incense, their red faces after an hour of Lunch Beat, their hugs, their eternal cursing, their watching of horrible troll and zombie movies, their lateness at the morning gatherings, their laughter, the fighting over the best pizza slices every Tuesday, looking into their eyes, and the sound of them walking across the floors above me.

Actually the last student was supposed to leave and fly home to Reykjavik with all of his luggage the evening before, but the plane was cancelled due to bad weather. That is just how it is here. Nature rules. I am also going to miss that, miss being reminded that no matter what is going on, nature can decide to close of the road over the mountain with snow or create so much wind that the ferry can’t arrive.

I am reminded of this as I walk the last couple of metres to the hostel with my arms sticking out to both sides to keep balance and myself from slipping on the ice.

Once inside the hostel I turn on the lights and walk down to the end of the empty hallway to the laundry room where a hill of linings is slowly getting smaller. I open the washing machine, take out the clothes, hang it up and hug a new pile of dirty linings to throw it into the machine.

A smell of one persons perfume and then another person’s aroma seep up in my nostrils and I get a little bit nostalgic. I know that when I will take the linings out of the machine again in one hour and forty minutes the smells will have changed to the smell of wet lining washed in perfume free detergent. Then I throw the white linings into the machine and press start.

I walk to the kitchen to wait for the washing machine to finish and starts to wonder about if anything has changed during these three months.

Yes, my hair and beard has grown longer, I might have lost a little weight from swimming three times a week and it has gradually become colder and darker outside. But I have also felt like something inside me has changed to the better, even though I am not sure what it is. Maybe it is because this place seems more pure in all aspects. There is a lot less noise here, a lot less to distract you and your mind and steal your time and energy. Instead it gives you energy and reinterpret the way you look at different things. Like what is beauty. My understanding of beauty has changed, I tell myself, in a good way, so I look at more and different things and more and different people as being beautiful.

In some strange way it just seems as though my bones are finally coming to sit in their right places after having been dislocated for a while.

But as the time of my own departure from Seyðisfjörður creeps closer I start to doubt if anything actually has changed or if it is just because I have been living and breathing inside a magical bubble that is this school, this town, these people for those three months. What if the bones get dislocated the second I step out at the Central Station in Copenhagen and arrive at the place I consider my home? What if I will fall directly into the same hole I start to crawl up from when I decided to go here? What happens when all the people, all the money, all the influences, all the lights and all the noise comes back?

And if my look upon what is beautiful and what is not has changed, does that then mean that I will look at the things and the people I thought of as beautiful before going here as not being beautiful anymore? Or will they just stand out as being even more beautiful than previously?

I guess I will not be able to answer that question before it actually happens in a couple of days. Maybe I become the exact same person. Shave off my beard and try to create a career again. I really don’t hope so, I would rather be dirty and happy.

I don’t know.

All I know right now is that all the laundry has been washed and that I am going to miss the students.

Hey, I said, I am just going to miss you.

Yes, I am talking to you Giovanna, Alexander, Anton, Nina, Olav, Natalia, Metha, Snædis, Anna Margret, Kristinn, and Ingibjörg.

Even though you really irritated me sometimes and probably vice versa, I really hope that right now you are all walking around out there feeling proud of what you have done and created and gone through the last three months. And while I have your attention I just want to say thank you. You also helped my bones to get back to their right place again. Maybe they will get dislocated when I return home, but at least now I know that they can actually be where they are supposed to be and that is a nice feeling.

I would like to give you a good advice, seem really clever, you know, but I can’t, and I am sure you will all figure it all out yourselves. But just remember to be good humans towards other humans.

Now the school starts.


Programme of the week

laundryWeek Thirteen:

Last week was the last week of the LungA School’s Fall 2014 program, so we spent the weekend on saying goodbye, hugging, kissing, laughing and crying and now our home is clean and empty, everyone is gone, and we have started with the final preparations for the Spring 2015 program.

So in this week nothing at all is happening at the LungA School.

Except for washing a whole lot of dirty laundry.

Have a beautiful week.

Podcast Episode 5 – Poetry

In this episode we have had a conversation with Grímur, the nine year old boy who came and taught our students to draw monsters. We talked about life as a kid, saving the world and other wonderful things that come up in a conversation with a nine year old. You will also have the pleasure of both piano and poetry, so we hope you will enjoy!

hvalen spiser

A diary from inside the whale

hvalen spiser

In the beginning of each new week we publish a story about the week that just passed at the LungA School. It is written from the inside and can be about anything. That’s all. This is the tenth and the eleventh chapter:


I am standing inside the stomach of a blue whale. It is Saturday and except for a few breaks I have been in here for the last six days.

Right now I can’t see her but I know that somewhere in here with me there is a student. Maybe she is lying on the red tongue or sitting down in the whale’s oesophagus.

Of course this is not a real whale, of course it’s not. It is just a room transformed into a whale by bunk beds, painted paper, wire, cast and blankets.

It is the students final project and she has been inside the whale for weeks. I have only been helping out, so she would make it in time. And it is almost time now.

In a couple of hours she and the rest of the students of the school are opening the doors to the hostel – their home – for the people of Seyðisfjörður. Because today they are having their last and final exhibition at this first ever full program at the LungA School.

I am about to tape the last piece of dark whale skin over the window to the world and I come to think about why we are actually doing this. Why we have been using weeks and energy on building a blue whale well knowing that we have to take it down again in a couple of days for it to disappear in all eternity. Why is it important, why do we do art, why do we feel the need?

I am not an artist, so I write one of the artists who taught at the school earlier in the programme and ask her why she is doing art.

She answers that it is the art that makes her. That she does not have a choice, cause once it starts to spew out of her, then it is the only thing that exists.

I recognize that feeling from when I am standing in the stomach of the blue whale taping it’s skin on the walls or twists steel wire around itself to make the teeth stick in the open mouth. Inside the whale I feel safe, like nothing can touch me. Inside the whale nothing else exists. There are no wars, no annoying people, no rain, no time, nothing.

Well, that is not exactly true, because now it is time for the exhibition to start. The hostel is full of people from town eating canapés and drinking drinks.

Downstairs bells ring and the door to room number 13 opens up. In the room a bright-coloured body painted student is dancing desperately around. She bangs into the walls, fall to the floor and every time she hits something a little bit of paint from her skin comes off.

On the door sits a little slip of paper with someone’s red handwriting on it:

– I have been fasting for 3 days to experiment what it does to my body and mind and how it affects my movement, the paper says.

After a while the bells are ringing in the kitchen. Everyone gathers up in there instead.

On a bench in the corner sits a student with an empty wine glass on the windowsill. Next to the glass lies to small tubes with a red liquid inside them. That’s blood. Her own blood, eight millilitres, tapped the day before at the town’s hospital.

– I am going to drink my own blood, she says.

She pours the blood into the wine glass, rotate it in her hand and drinks the blood in four sips.

– That was it, she says.

No further explanation is given, no reason for the blood drinking, just the act. Then people get up and start to walk around again.

I also start to walk again. As I walk by room number 13 I see the fasting, body painted dancer as she gets a glass of orange juice and almost explodes of joy.

I continue upstairs and while travelling this El Dorado of crazy students and their art works I come to think of a conversation I once had in Copenhagen with a musician a late hour in the trashed music venue he and his friends took care of that night.

– We are doing all of this because it is closer to our version of the perfect world, he said and pointed into the room where people were partying and listening to music.

– It is an illusion of reality. The reality where I am first at the hospital to visit my demented grandfather who is dying, and afterward go home to my stepfather who needs a new heart to keep living. Of course my illusion of the perfect world is much more beautiful than this one right here, but this one right is much more beautiful than the real world.

Maybe that is also a reason for doing art, I think. To create a universe where you decide everything, where you are the one on top and everyone else is under your rule. You decide what colors should go on the painting and how the wooden sculpture should be bended and what song you want to sing in your Buddhist temple and what story you want to tell in your film or zine. And maybe this exhibition is how the perfect world would look if I could take all 11 students’ visions of that world and throw them into a melting pot and stir it constantly for 11 weeks.

It is almost two hours since the exhibition started. The amount of people at the exhibition is decreasing, and I go alone into a room and sit on one of the students’ beds. A big flat screen television loops a short movie of a student who has filmed herself in her underwear as she sits at, stands by and walks around a sort of a makeup table with a depressed look on her face and body language.

On the floor lies all the long blond hair she trimmed down to a few centimeters days before and in the corner of the room a computer display Facebook-messages with all the nasty things people in town said after she took of the hair.

I look at it a couple of times with pride of these young human beings’ bravery. Then I walk to the kitchen. Only people from the school is left in the building. Some are preparing dinner.

I walk upstairs, go into the whale to say goodbye and close the door behind me. Few minutes before people were laughing and puffing and blowing from crawling around in it, but now the only sound left is a Youtube-video with underwater and whale sounds.

I crawl into the mouth, down the tongue and into the oesophagus. On my knees and elbows I slalom my way through plastic bags and Coca Cola cans until I reach the stomach. There I lay down on my back and just before I fall asleep, I think, that maybe the stomach of a whale isn’t the most beautiful illusion of the perfect world, but it is much more beautiful than the real world.

tre gangsters

Programme of the week

tre gangstersWeek Twelve:

The circle is ending. Today is the first day of week number twelve at the LungA School, and thereby also the first day of the final week of the Fall 2014 program.

Last week we finished the two-week long Final Workshop with a grand exhibition at our home, where the rooms and corridors were transformed into small spaces for the different works and performances. We had the perfect afternoon and afterwards the perfect evening and night, and we would like to say thank you very much to everyone who showed up at the exhibition and supported the students and the school.

In this final week we are preparing ourselves to go back to where we come from, back to the thing they call reality.

To help us with that we have invited the Danish actor Christian Gade Bjerrum back to Seyðisfjörður. Back, because he was also the person who kicked off the program back in the first week.

Through different exercises he will use two days to prepare the students to leave this small town by the fiord and travel back into the rest of their lives.

The rest of the week will be used on further preparations to going back and what the students would like to take back with them home. And also to tie all loose ends in a proper way, clean up the mess we have made during the last three months and, of course, spend the last time together in the best and cosiest way possible.

It is both with joy and sadness that we now wish you all a beautiful week for the last time in this year of 2014.

We will see you when the Spring 2015 program starts.


Programme of the week


Week Eleven:

The first week of the Final Workshop is over and today we are ready to start the second and last week of the workshop.

Last week everyone was supposed to move closer to an idea of what to do as their final project. They were told to focus on and work with their senses in many different ways and through different exercises including drawing and sound and so on, and then slowly different ideas and projects started to evolve.

But in this week we are sprinting the last meters. The students are continuing to work on they individual projects and they will be more than busy, because they have to be done before Saturday at 16 o’clock.

Because this is when we have an open exhibition with all their final projects and pieces, and you are all of course invite to come and have a look and celebrate the students and the first ever full-length program of the LungA School, which is almost at it’s end. We really hope to see you. And until then have a fantastic week.