The Unbearable Lightness of Giving a F**k – A Thousand Faroe Islands
A Multi-Dimensional and Collaborative Art Project about the emerging mass tourism on the Faroe Islands
Made in Collaboration with a Group of Local People Keeping in Mind the Dimension of Socio-Cultural Sustainability.
The Yellow Raincoat (Marjun), 2017
(Will become a series of projections in an installation)
This photo stands alone. It is also a part of a series of photos made together with a group of local people where we investigate the emerging mass tourism on the Faroe Islands. It is a staged photo, made in dialogue and together with Marjun S. Svartafoss, during our walk around Tórshavn, Faroe Islands on a Friday afternoon in October 2017. The idea is that the local person chooses a spot where they are photographed – a place or a setting to comment what is not shown in the representations made by the visiting adventure tourists, the Insta-famous travel and adventure photographers and other people coming to create narratives of these people and their nation. Places, settings or aspects these visitors ignore or do not choose to portray when they explore, discover and narrate the small island nation the Faroe Islands. The local person in the photo is wearing a yellow raincoat. The yellow rain coat is becoming an icon or a stereotype you see the tourist/adventure photographer wearing when they are gazing at the romanticised natural scenery they have explored, discovered, conquered and collected into their (Instagram-)shots.
There has been a change within the past few years in how Faroe Islands are branded, marketed or narrated through visual imagery. The aim is to attract the adventure explorer traveller, the heroic travel photographer and the hipster, to “discover the undiscovered lands”, and the travellers do exactly that – portray the remote wilderness and the cute little villages with grass roof tops.
The travellers portray majestic and sublime landscape sceneries that can be further used in marketing the lands to an ever growing mass of contemporary explorers arriving to these lands to claim the same sceneries. The heroic explorer traveller places one person in the picturesque landscape. It is the archetype of this contemporary explorer (the tourist, the brief visitor), who had this specific destination on their bucket list. The evidence can be published on Instagram, so it can be used for further marketing. The aesthetics for this kind of (commercial) landscape and travel photography derives from the romantic era landscape painting, in the spirit of David Kaspar Friedrich and his painting “The Wanderer above the Fog” (1818). The gaze of the tourist, as far his eyes can see, claims these unmarked territories, the lands of the Hobbits (or so they are let to believe).
This photo belong to a larger collaborative art project about the emerging mass tourism on the Faroe Islands and is a work-in-progress. I have been visiting the Faroe Islands since 2008 and working together with people from the art and cultural fields in different long-term and socio-culturally sustainable art projects. I consider Faroe Islands as one of my homes.
And great thanks for Hans Company Oy for sponsoring the yellow raincoat for this project!
I received Mobility Funding from the Nordic Culture Point to initiate the collaboration with the local people and to start the project.
The series of The Yellow Raincoats is featured as one of 18 projects selected for the Der Greif and the World Photo Organisation’s Open Call. Here is a direct link to the series on WPO’s website.
Here is a link to a more article like story with a series of different photos, published on the Photographic Museum of Humanity website.