Reflections from 3 weeks at LungA

For the past 3 weeks I have tried to write down what LungA is. What we are doing. Or what we are attempting to do. I have tried to capture the feeling, describe the nature, and put the magic on paper. I have given up a lot of times. But I have decided that it would not do this place justice to give up! So I have decided to share my thoughts with you. They are snapshots from the first weeks at LungA school. From a life in the small town of Seydisfjordur. Some stories are not even snapshots, but rather sketches. There is no story line. – Sometimes I have the feeling that yesterday is very disconnected from today. It is difficult to describe something that keeps changing. And to describe something I am not sure I understand myself? But here goes: snapshots from LungA:

As we drive into town, one of the first things I notice are the LED-lit red, blue and white crosses on the graveyard. They seem comical and misplaced in this majestic landscape. The snow makes them flicker – a bit like noise on an old TV screen.

I dreamt vividly last night. I guess I was just digesting everyone’s life stories. It is rare to have this kind of honesty in a group. We sat for 9 hours listening to each others’ stories. – and it seemed like every minute was essential. I, too, shared things about myself that I’m not sure that my friends know?

The worst part is actually getting out of the icy water. My toes, my feet, my shins – it feels as if a myriad of invisible fjord-creatures are now eagerly stabbing their little knifes into them. Hahahaaa! We’re all smiling and laughing!

The snow squeaks; a bit like cotton now. It gives me goosebumps. Just a few days ago my cheeks hurt from all the hail. Now, the world is white, bright and squeaky.

I think that part of what is unique about this place is that everything is possible. There are no real boundaries or barriers. Sure. You may not succeed. But if you don’t try, you will never know whether you may succeed. Being on shaky ground, you really learn.

I think we are creating a foundation by tearing apart the old one. Someone said that the amount of solids remain the same when you tear down a building – if you collect all the dust. I think we are tearing down buildings, and replacing the dust with new material to create a foundation that will be stronger than before.

I don’t believe that I will ever grow tired of looking at the mountains.

Stop! The silence is remarkable after 10 minutes of exhaling loud ”HUH”s, while thumping my heels rhythmically against the floor. So this is the actual meditation. I try my best to empty my mind… My arms hurt a lot. Someone breathes heavily. I focus on the now… Arh. Must take my arms down. Shake them… Breathe… Empty my mind. Slowly bring the arms up again. It was quite intense to be in a room with everyone screaming, yelling, singing. Blindfolded. I wonder how long it takes to learn to meditate?

Oh! Northern lights! We saw them last night. It was not as green as I thought it would be. It looked more like streaks of greenish drizzling snow. And then it danced! And a purple shade appeared. The moon was very clear and cast amazing shadows on the snowy mountains. It was every bit as amazing as I hoped it would be!

I started the day with looking 10 people in the eyes for 2 minutes each. Then I listened to Clara’s life story for several hours. And looked at the mountains. The day ended with dancing to a screening of a Talking Heads concert.

We are all here to be challenged. We talk a lot about life.

The atmosphere is different now. Quieter. More introspective. Intense. Vulnerable. Telling your life story to someone else takes courage. And it takes courage to realise what you left out. Why was that again?

The light is very blue today. Each day has its own blue colour; today it takes on a cold, light blue tone. The waterfalls have frozen again. It is as if someone took a photo of them, left it there and took the running water with them. Or stopped the time. But the running water is under the ice. I can hear it.

Just living together. Sharing mornings, evenings, thoughts, ideas. And going on a personal journey together. I think everyone is trying to get closer to some essence. The essence of art? Of thought? Of feeling? Of life? I’m not really sure. But it feels important to all of us. And the rest of the world seems very far away.

The sun is crawling further and further down the mountains. I can definitely see the difference. It is coming closer.

http://lungaschool.tumblr.com/

LungA Spring 2016

A new semester has started. We met only a few weeks ago. By now we have shared life stories, been continuously amazed by the mountains, swum in the icy fjord, paused, listened, laughed, yelled, fought in the snow, meditated, explored communication, been exposed to existential units of concentration, composed, found our Seydisfjordur soulmates, danced, dined, drawn and jumped. The world feels very near – and very far away. Maybe this is why we had a sci-fi party? We are electric and ready to erupt!

Fall 2015 – epilogue

Nineteen streams became a river for a while. Now the river has reached the ocean.

How can it get so quiet so suddenly? There is a special kind of silence here, even though the storm is raging outside right now. It feels like a void. A presence that was here just before, but is no longer here.

But we know it happened. The traces are here in the rooms they stayed in, in the studio where they worked and in the memories that we carry in our minds and bodies.

And the nineteen streams that made a river have also become nineteen streams again. In other places and other times. And they carry all the sediments from the river with them.

There is something amazing about that thought.

So these twelve weeks just happened! It took us by surprise and tossed us around and we gained control, but gave it up again, over and over and we trusted, we truly trusted, in each other and in the river. We insisted that things had to matter, we allowed them to mean something and suddenly everything was at stake and it was all very much alive!

Now it’s quiet, but not for long. While everyone else has left, we’re still here. Preparing for the next river to hit us early next year. We can’t wait!

—–

Capturing twelve weeks in three minutes is not an easy task, but the result gives me goosebumps and warm cheeks.

Thank you Mel, Carla, Carmen, Kåre, Austin, Emma, Majken, Lara, Edurne, Alex, Montse, Magnus, Caitlin, Andreas, Nanna, Laura and Julie.

Dear world, hello

THE LIQUID

3000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Hercalitus exposed to the world what we’ve been practising the past ten weeks. It was a doctrine on human existence and therefore an exploration of art. “A man can never step into the same river twice” meaning the changeability of the human and the constant motion of the streams, will always deconstruct its history and recreate its present. Like the repetitive touch of the same object will dissolve and rebuild from every meet. When we delve into the process of creating a sculpture, we realise the pulse of its own existence – its subtleness and oscillating nature. How everything is in flux and nothing is stationary. It is in the harmony between building up and tearing down where the moments of clarity occur. When we dismantle our intentions to extend our intuition. When we realise that exhibiting is not about exposing an integrated wholeness, but to let the surrounding world into a continuing succession of changes.

We’re looking into the eyes of our final exhibition. Asking ourselves if that is what we are looking at, rather than an undefined situation. A liquid experience. For five days, we’ve had the complete freedom to construct our individual realities and let creation grow from there. We divided into all directions. In front of the piano: to feel the cohesion between a light heart and a weighted key. In the corner of the studio: to see how a vivid mind can destruct the backrest of a wall. With clay in our hands: to figurate the incomprehensible. With sound as a platform for distortion: to create a merge between an asymmetric mind and a metronome. How was this myriad of pulses going to rise from its individuality and meet in a collective dialog? We asked each other and ourselves as we sat down on the studio floor. It wasn’t an overall theme of sensitive anti-art. Nor was it a common research upon the relation between human and nature. It wasn’t an immediate clarity that hit us simultaneously, fortunately. We met each other in doubt, not in uncertainty. We felt how each presentation spoke to the depth of us, we met the dialectic force of art – in a belief that our processes would extend into an experience, build on everything we’ve dived into the past months.

In two days, this week’s exploration, frustration and excitement will be packed into two trailers. We’ll shut down the lights, clean our pallets, sweep up the ashes and thank our workstations for their loyalty. And as we cross the mountains and hopefully reunite with the sunlight, we’ll look at each other and take a collective step into another river.

Love

Week 9 THE COLLAPSE

In Week 9 we tried to collapse the given structures and narratives we live by and also the ones surrounding us.
These included our perception of reality and our role in society, reality itself and society itself, beliefs, identities, illusions etc.
The week itself was structured by a narrative, one could try to describe it as a narrative in entropy.
First by recognizing and identifying the greater structures, studying their history and liquid quality to change throughout history and cultures, going deeper, and looking at its inevitable collapse.
What might be the alternatives? Do we then pick up the pieces and build from what we have or do we try to create something completely new and from what? How do we cope with this notion of collapse? What comfort do the narratives provide, there must be an explanation and a function, it’s not all illusion or maybe it is, but then isn’t that real?

Each day the students mediated and processed these topics through their own perceptions and mediums. This was in order to approach them and break them down and create a two-dimensional representation all compiled on the Friday to a printed and bound book.


A VOID A VOID
Introduction

As winter slowly descends and the darkness begins to move in on us, our bodies react to the disappearance of the sun by urging us to conserve our energy. How we respond to the steady turn towards darker days matters: do we resist or can we embrace the fact that it will take months before the sun rises high enough on the horizon that we can feel its rays on our skin? Can we fight the darkness in a
way that our spirit remains a peace with the season we are in? Sometimes we see clearer in darkness because of the contrast it brings out. The winter months bring us the beauty of northern lights and the deep mysteries of regeneration that lies in decay and death.
The fight is a quest to be able to take a position that allows us to explore the mystery of darkness without breaking the light of our spirit.This is the kind of position that we have been exploring in the course of the last week. During five days of immersing ourselves in the stories we live by we have been asking ourselves how to tell which plots matter and which we can safely ignore.
Where do we direct our energies amid stories of calamity and collapse? How do we take a position where we don’t allow the old stories to tie us down and where we begin spinning threads which can lead us to new ways of seeing our lives? Is there an attitude which helps us to hold our attention in situations where we a lured into giving it away to the next news flash, advertisement, Facebook post or Very Urgent Thing? Is there a way of working with the imagination which gives us clues to what kind of reality we want to create? These are the kind of the questions that inform the work that is this book. During each day we took a little step further into the unknown. We started with examining the stories that make our reality and moved into what happens when these
stories turn out to be only half truths. We moved into a space between stories and looked at the ways in which our speech and thought can create double-binds that keep us trapped in other people’s’ stories. We found a reality-seeking attitude
that could helps us to constellate an alternate reality which we can slowly begin manifesting. We looked at our lives as an ongoing voyage where we can become seasoned journeyers that know how to create wholeness out of the fragments of
the modern age. Each chapter in this book represents a step on our collective journey in learning
how to navigate uncertainty. And each story, collage, drawing, reflection and image tells an individual story about what happens once you leave the certainty and comfort of the Official Version. Each day we worked through the theme of the chapter and discussed the questions it brought up. The afternoons were set aside for the students to explore these topics in their own creative work. They were completely free to find their own way of expressing themselves, and it has been delightful to see the accomplishment and quality of their inquiries. Working with such a group of engaged and talented artists has been a huge
pleasure and privilege. They have taken on the ideas they were presented with in a spirit of curiosity and sincerity and worked hard to create the content of these pages. This book stands out as an object which tells a story of the different places in
the imagination we explored together during the week. And it points to the possibilities of creating new meaning out of stories that seem torn, jagged and obsolete. We hope that the work that went into the making of this book has caused moments of both insight and perplexity which inspire new perspectives and strength to fight the darkness.

Jeppe Graugaard & Jonatan Spejlborg
Seyðisfjörður, November 2015