Nylistasafnid (The Living Art Museum) Reykjavik, Iceland
Limbo project space
April 2023
Solo exhibition in collaboration with Nickie Sigurdsson

Supported by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) 

In correlation with the museum’s critical location – the Marshallhúsið at Reykjavik’s Old Harbor – ACT I is composed of publicly accessible live footage captured by the Faxaflóahafnir Associated Icelandic Ports’ webcams. Through collective writing practice, the installation invites visitors to participate in a retelling of the quasi-events engendered by a fundamental change in national fishing legislation. 

In 1990, the Fisheries Management Act legalized privatization of the commons – fish stocks in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Accomplished through a system of Individually Transferable Quotas (ITQs), the act allowed fishermen to freely trade their limited share of the total annual harvesting rights. Conceived during an era characterized by surges of over-fishing, ITQs were easily justified as a mechanism to halt the near constant threat of depleted species populations. However, this management approach encouraged mega-fisheries to purchase the governmentally allocated fishing allowances of smaller vessels, reconfiguring the previous constellation of active docks into a clear center and periphery. Active fishing towns are now retirement destinations. Ghost infrastructure from harvesting, gutting, and packing processes is either left to decompose or transformed into creative spaces through ulterior government funds. Precarious conditions - a reliance on the emergent, so called “Quota Kings” - continue to thrive under the ITQ-regime. Visitors of ACT I are summoned to reflect on these histories through a response to the material and cyborg ‘memories’ presented in the Limbó space. 

Installation view, 3 channel live webcam, riso publication, fishermen’s yearly log book, boat pen