The Expedition to the Magic Mountain (2013-2020)* is an experiment with time and space, exploring levels of consciousness, knowledge and sensibility, old and new. We want to go beyond the borders of self-assumed existential conditions, and at the same time we have to acknowledge and face past and present forces of creativity and destruction.
The Expedition is centered on the perception of contemporary European culture within the context of Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain, and shaped also by an extensive collaborative experience on the art of reading Iceland’s whereabouts in European history and culture. The novel is an endless exploration of human existence and echoes the shattering decline of modern European culture before the great wars in the desolate wastelands of contemporary capitalism.
In October 2013, a group of seven individuals went on an expedition from the edge of Europe to the stage of the novel. The group stayed at the Berghotel Schatzalp in Davos, which is one of former sanatorium in the region and the one Mann is believed to draw on for the novel’s Berghof Sanatorium. During their stay, the members of the expedition were the only guests at the Berghotel Schatzalp and this is where they recorded their impressions, perceptions and conversations in writing and on film.
The expedition is scheduled to run until 2020, with more exhibitions and performances held in galleries and other places in Iceland and on the European continent. The final results will appear in a book which will include essays, fragments and art work. The aim of the expedition is also to publish the first Icelandic translation of The Magic Mountain.
Events, talks and exhibitions include:
2013 – First expedition to Berghotel Schatzalp in Davos
2014 – Performances / talks at the international conference Art in Translation held at the University of Iceland
2014 – Participation in the conference Hugarflug at Iceland Academy of the Arts
2014 – Exhibition at Úthverfa / Outvert Art Space, Ísafirði
2015-2016 Monthly evening wakes at the NLFÍ Spa and Medical Clinic in the town of Hveragerði, Iceland
2016 – Event at Mengi, platform for music and arts, Reykjavik
2017 – Exhibition at The Living Art Museum
*Members of the expedition are Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir film director, Birna Bjarnadóttir professor of litterature, Gauti Kristmannsson professor of translation, Haraldur Jónsson artist, Karlotta Blöndal artist, Steingrímur Eyfjörd artist and Unnar Örn Auðarson, artist.