Monday, September 06, 2010

Doing Nothing with a Purpose

I've heard from many people that Icelanders are often reluctant to give out information. Or at least, it's not a cultural 'thing' to give more information than asked, because why would you need to? Someone asks how much a bus ticket to a particular place costs, and you tell them, it's three dollars. Simple! You don't tell them that that particular place is in the middle of nowhere, because that's not the question they asked, now is it? That's just a vague example, but today's activities combined with an all-day rain and a sore knee compounded a bit of an annoying sitch.
Sample dialogue from today, as I'm trying to find a college faculty member to schedule a meeting.

-(Me:) I'm looking for Só-and-Só-ersson.
-(Secretary:) Well, did you try his office?
-Yes, but he's not here.
-Well, he's probably teaching.
-Can you tell me when he teaches?
-Well, he keeps his own schedule, he's very busy.
-Do you know when he'll be back?
-No, not really.
-Can you show me the schedule of classes so I can figure it out?
-No, I'm sorry, I can't show that to you.
-Okay then, bye.

Luckily I did find a camera store, I think the only camera store in Reykjavík that's not at the mall, and they had a battery charger for my camera and a little tripod for long-exposure shots et al. So, minus one for professor, plus one for camera battery.

You might be wondering what I'm doing here, in Íslands, not going to school, but not really working a job either. Well, the plan on paper is to create a 'multimedia installation of music based on the landscape and people of the country'. In reality, I don't know if something that ambitious could ever be accomplished with the resources I currently have. Currently: count one new mac that shuts down inexplicably from time to time from kernel errors, one digital recorder, one 4-megapixel camera, and one borrowed MIDI keyboard (four octaves, not bad). But, the good thing is that I am under no pressure to create anything epic, and in fact, the Fulbright office here was more than happy to tell me that what I really need to do now is just 'be a sponge', get out and travel, see everything there is to see, and do as much as I can. This is supposed to me the time for me to think about art without having another job or two get in the way! It's just weird to think about doing nothing really...but doing nothing with purpose.
I also hope to meet as many Icelandic composers, musicians, and artists as I can. I think it will help me work in ways that I might not have ever conceived of before.

No comments: