26 October 2007

On the fringes of Airwaves

I did not go to any of the acts here over the weekend as part of the well-publicized Airwaves festival, but I did go to a few of the many hanger-on events that were scheduled for the same weekend, hoping to capitalize on the higher concentration of hipper-than-thou folk in town.

On Friday I went to the opening reception of the home and design show. Held in Laugardalshöllin, it was supposed to showcase the best and brightest of Icelandic design. In some respects it succeeded wonderfully, with a corner crammed with small objects- textiles, sculpture, tableware, and lights. The rest of the show was a little jumbled though, with exhibits ranging from hot tubs for the summerhouse, to Kaupþing (the bank), various big n splashy TV displays, an exhibit on new materials and construction techniques, and a toy shop for kids. As always with trade shows like this, there was plenty of champagne, chocolate, cookies, and sandwich-y nibbles, just like the fishing tech showcase, and the high tech expo I went to before. No fishing nets at this one though.

On Saturday it was all about architecture for the presentation of the first Icelandic building award. It was held in the Reykjavik Art Museum's Kjarvalsstaðir branch, an apt locale for the audience whose overall wardrobe vibe was blacker than Iceland in December. After a lot of rambling presentation-talk, the Prime Minister handed over the award to the people who built the Blue Lagoon's skin therapy spa, and the thing was over after some slightly thin applause. Since it was the first time for the event, it seemed a bit tentative on the whole, in spite of the champagne, but I could not disagree with the splendid venue, the great style-watching, and the licorice-topped chocolate squares.

Then off to swank lounge b5 where the whole place had been graffittoed out for the official launch party of the hot book of the season, Icepick. The author's a friend of a friend, and is one of those people who is way cooler than you will ever be, but is super nice about it. Her clothing store just down the street, Ósoma, has the kind of design that makes for a worthwhile souvenir- truly Icelandic, obscure yet not too much, and supporting the local folks.

The event had been very publicized to the Airwaves Press Pass crowd, who all showed up for the free lady-cocktails (pink or purple, an odd choice for the launch of so fierce a book) and the porcupine styled fruit kebab trays that were ringed with prosciutto-wrapped figs and various other not-from-these-parts delicacies. As with every event that weekend, there were plenty of people I knew there, but the high percentage of camerafolks made it seem like we were at something Really Huge.

I'm not sure now if it was Airwaves that made for the art-laden weekend or if it's just that fall is when it Happens Here. After the summertime of long and empty weekends stretching ahead, it's back-to-back Things To Do, and I don't want to miss any of it. This is why blogging has been a bit of a back seat of late. That and this ennnnndless rain that's making me gloomy in spite of myself. Hopefully no more will need to be said on that subject!


Northern musings said...

Don´t you just sometimes find these things all a little pretentious? Sometimes I think we forget that there are only 300 odd thousand of us (odd being the operative word). Imagine the same events in a small town of similar population in a larger country. I like it and yet I can´t help but smirk every now and then....

Professor Batty said...

... sounds like fun! I am always amazed at all the things that happen there, any excuse to dress up an "act the part" is OK by me.

ECS said...

musings: yeah, definitely, hence my comments about the tentative applause and the jumbled assortment at the trade show, for example. The high camera-factor at the later party was also a little weird, since in many ways it was just another Saturday evening- a mix of locals and visitors and plenty of people you know. Still, I'd rather be in a place that's trying to have some hype than somewhere that just gives up altogether, and I do like the variety and access that is possible here.

batty: it's really fun when there are so many visitors who aren't familiar with Iceland are in town, because they often get all goggle-eyed that they are at this even with people who know The Organizers. And yes, the dress up wardrobe gets a lot of action here.

cK said...

Neat. I've passed along the Icepick recommendation to some friends. Thanks.

tsduff said...

E - you always pick out the most interesting things to discuss. Iceland seems to be off the beaten path anyway, and so appears even more exotic when presenting their events and parties with wild lighting, different music, and of course amazing costumes (what else would one call it?). I have to confess I would be one of the google-eyed tourists.

ECS said...

ck: the perfect holiday gift, no? Hope they like it. Makes Iceland seem more gritty than it does most days.

tsduff: it's really not as exotic as it sounds, but maybe it's just because I've been here long enough for it to start seeming ordinary :)