This year the Icelandic Cycle Music and Art Festival - titled “Inclusive Nation” - takes place in multiple venues between October 25th and October 28th, along with the inauguration of an exhibition in Gerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum that continues until January 6th 2019.

Cycle Music and Art Festival is a platform where experimental music and visual art are given an opportunity to engage and exist in dialogue. Currently, the festival’s artistic platform includes civil, political, and academic perspectives in an interdisciplinary contemplation on colonialism, nationalism, solidarity and inclusiveness. The festival takes place in the context of the 2018 centenary of Icelandic sovereignty, within the framework of established art institutions as well as engagement in the public arena. 


Inclusive Nation is the culmination of a process. From an incubating phase during the 2017 festival - titled Sovereign | Colony - and the one day exhibition and event Cryptopian States, that took place in Berlin earlier this year.

By examining the history of Danish colonialism and the curious relationships between its different subjects in the context of the Icelandic sovereignty centenary - this process has provided a fresh take on the relationship between colonial histories and current realities. Having a creative platform to contemplate the relations between the former Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, is as much a new, even obscure, experience for those who come from within that geographical context as well as those external to it.

An important focus to the enquiry is the contradiction of national identity as a liberating strategy for oppressed peoples on the one hand, and its tendency to perpetuate the oppressive ideologies of colonialism on the other. Can the latter be avoided? Can patriotism exist without a superiority complex? Can one balance the scale of tolerance and power, or is inclusion dependent on exclusivity? What is a nation without exclusion? Inclusive nation?

This focus bursts open clichés about the exotic North and its “nature-peoples” (including cute elfin creatives) and brings to light topics such as the banalities of nation branding and the role of whiteness in the Nordic context. Through artistic renderings and abstractions local realities become globally relevant.

Curators: Gudny Gudmundsdottir, Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Sara S. Öldudottir