VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Einarsdottir, Unnur Andrea

Unnur Andrea Einarsdottir
is an Icelandic video artist

  • artist biography
  • toilet by u.a.einarsdottir
    Her video “Toilet” is part of “gender identity” selection & Cologne OFF I

    Her videos “Music in Cake“, “White Music” & “The Albino’s Melancholia” are part of “image vs music” selection

    Her video “Music in Cake” is part of Cologne OFF II

    Her video “White Music” is part of “://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem – a show for Peace

    bio at the end of the page—>

    Interview: 10 questions

    1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

    I was never going to become an artist, it never even occurred to me. I was thinking of going into acting but I am too much of an individual to constantly be a part of a group. I loved music as well, but lacking the discipline needed in traditional musical training. Not taking it very seriously, I threw in an application to the fine art department in the Icelandic Academy of the Arts and “accidentally” got an entry. At first I felt like an impostor, like I was in the wrong place. Until I realized how much freedom is in contemporary art, it is the media that could contain all other medias; sculpture, music, performances, paintings, dance, design, film/ video etc.

    2. When, how and why started you filming?

    I started making videos in art school. The freedom in contemporary art I talked about before, I found a lot of in video making. A video is a world where you can create your own reality completely with your own rules. You are the one who desides weather or not there is gravity, or time. If you want a person to mutate into a refrigirator, you have the right to do that, everything that you are denied of in the real world, you are allowed to do there.

    3.What kind of subjects have your films?

    Most of my videos contain surreal characters that find themselves in surreal situations.
    Many of the ideas come to me while I am listening to music. Music is in fact a very physical thing, basically it is vibrations running through your body and
    your body literally absorbs them (as for visual art, you receive it through your mind, although you may respond to it physically with emotions;
    crying, laughing etc.). Often when I hear music I want it to become even more physical, so physical that I could touch it or even eat it, which explains why so many of the videos have got something to do with eating and food. I want it to become a part of my system.

    Albinism is also a reoccurring theme in my videos, for many reasons.
    One is the idea that white contains all colours, just as well as white noise contains all frequencies. When we transfer this idea onto the human albino, which unlike normal humans have no pigment in their skin, we can imagine that albinos contain all other races. This has of course no scientific backup, but can be an fascinating idea from an aesthetic point of view. Most albinos suffer from what is called photosensitivity, meaning that they are very sensetive to sunlight and many have poor vision. Albinos, like many other people with some kind of physical “abnormality”, tell stories about how they as children were teased relentlessly by their peers and some have even been victims of social exclusion. Albinos are therefore not only forced to stay away from the sun, but are also often left in the shadow of social life.

    4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

    I often tend to put a lot of effort into aesthetics when it comes to costumes and set design, choosing colors in harmony with each other, music that fits the scene a.s.o. Although sometimes I initially intend to keep the video raw and spontaneous, I often automatically become very controlling about every aspect of the video. I become perfectionistic, which has its good and bad sides.

    5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

    I know very little about the equipment I use. I just try to borrow the best cameras and lights I can get each time, and since I´m usually starring in my own videos, I often leave the filming to someone else. Equipment issues bore me.

    6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?

    New media accelerates both the creation and viewing of film and video. The equipment for making film is now accessible to everyone with a private computer, all you need is a digital camera and a simple program in your computer to process the material. This will encourage people that otherwise would not be interested, to try it out for themselves. The more people that try it out, the faster new ideas will come and it will speed up the development of the genre. Of course, the internet increases the number of audience drastically, it has a bigger audience then any cinema or video store and any TV show. It gives access to the whole world.

    7. How do you finance your films?

    I sometimes call companies and do heavy begging, with different results though, usually not very good. I just work very hard doing boring day jobs and eat instant noodles to save money.

    8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?

    I usually work individually, although I am currently planning on a collaboration project. I´m really not a group kind of person, but it´s worth the try.

    9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

    Coffee. A lot of coffee. Music also brings ideas to my head. I have always been fascinated by the abnormal and the odd, both situations and people. I draw inspiration from so called misfits; bums, drag queens, the mentally disturbed, gypsies and those that have been wrongly named “freaks”. Siamese twins, dwarfs, albinos, midgets or people that are somehow physically deformed are common characters in my work.

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

    To see all my wildest ideas come into fruition. And to be able to finance that, my plan is to wait patiently for money to start growing relentlessy on my pottery plant.