Tag Archives: island culture

The Price of Settlement in Iceland

The foundational principle of Iceland is “settlement.” after 1100 years of it, we see that nothing has changed. In Olafsfjörður (for example), everything still comes from away.

And buildings are larger than they need to be. They too are settlements.

Even the driftwood, even the art, even the temporary housing made from shipping containers, comes from away.

Or so it seems to someone from away. However, to an Icelander, I think it comes from the world, which is synonymous with the sea.

And you can’t see it.

The result is Reykjavik.

Beach Wrack in Iceland Washes High Up On Shore

The sky cries tears in Iceland. Viennese waltzes warping in a banana box in a window, old hi-fi junk, and all the books of the world wash up on the shore otherwise called Hverfisgata.

Not much different than a knot of broken fishing nets and cast-off plastic knocking against the knees of kelp-eating sheep, really.