9 September - 30 October 2004

The Icelandic Love Corporation


The myth tells us that if standing on the moon, only two human phenomena are visible: The Great Wall of China and four Icelandic girls that call themselves The Icelandic Love Corporation. Coming down to planet Earth, another myth can be heard amongst earthlings about this corporation operating on an international basis, spreading their outlandish ideas around the globe by performing colorful and burlesque happenings. It all seems very innocent at first, hidden under the nominal disguise of “art”, but looking closer (and now the perspective is from a microcosmic level and not from other planets) we detect a serious questioning of… the Thing.


And matters become complicated. I’m not sure, but I think I might have smelled the stench of conspiracy here. The thing is that in the mother language, Icelandic, these girls conceal their activities behind the apparently innocent name “Gjorningaklubburinn”, meaning “the happening club”. We Icelanders then smile and think of just another pre-feministic female club that has something to do with sewing or making food. “Ahh, very nice, indeed,” we think, “when young girls are active and joyful” and do not suspect anything at all. But in the universal tongue, the very language spoken on the moon, the name of the club – The Icelandic Love Corporation – has very different connotations. It immediately becomes clear to us that we are concerned with an organization that spreads its propaganda (with a target population that is not local but international and, if extended further, interglobal) under the sweet icing of… the Thing.


What is this thing with the corporation? Why don’t they call themselves “The Icelandic Happening Club”? No, no, they never would. From an interglobal standpoint such an old-fashioned and sheepish name is doomed to fail. Here everything is made with precise intention. Under the concept “corporation” there are layers of meaning that disclose themselves if we take a careful look. Corpus is the Latin for “body”. And we, the humans that have witnessed some of the ILC’s happenings, know that their activities are always highly corporal. But it is not the corporality of the Church we are observing; the ILC goes beyond such dualism and the result is the very carnal metaphysics for which it is now getting known. Let us just have a quick look at the titles of the happenings; The Autopsy, The Revivification, Faith, Hope and Grace, The Genesis, Sublime Beings, Hope and you can see what I am getting at. They even manipulate one of the most sacred and intimate rites of our postmodern existence in a happening they call The Blowjob. Looking more closely at the etymology of “corporation” we see that a “corporation spiritual” is the working-title of the dean in the cathedrals of former times.


Yes, this trans-feministic, lunarly visible club is fully aware of arts position beyond science and religion, but they appropriate the signs and symbols of these established institutions. They have for example designed a logo for themselves, and that logo is the postmodern equivalent to the old religious symbols. Where we once had symbols for transcendental reality, we now have logos: trademarks that denote things constituting the world of commodities. And matching this: what we once called the “heavenly sphere” we now call “the Market.” The logo of the Icelandic Love Corporation consists of four hearts, each containing a vagina (Sanskrit: “yoni”). A beautiful logo that might as well have originated from the morphology of Indian religious mandalas. The robes that ILC wear in their rites are white laboratory robes,, which is obviously appropriate because when the clergy has lost its authority and respect, the scientists take on the role of the priest and give us our daily weltanschauung. Perhaps art has a saving function in the media-saturated contemporary society; – a society of people for whom the magic has not only disappeared from nature, but also from the language and thought itself. Perhaps art and only art is able to open up the gates of the unknown and mystical that were closed by the advent of modernism when all aspects of society were rationalized and subjugated under the new Law of the Market.


Could it be that art has a redeeming power in our society in a time where we witness the constant territorisation by humans of all spaces (outer space included)? When nature disappears by being asphalted over, transformed into power-sources or references for the designed souvenirs of the tourist industry, then culture becomes even more important as a potentially powerful resistance to the cold rationalization and unrestrained capitalism of the modern welfare- and information society.


But where have I strayed to? Oh yes, I was discussing the corporal magic of the Love Corporation, thinking about spirituality in our profane world, and trying to make out what kind of body would lie under the icing of their happenings. I mean: what is really happening in the activities of those four girls visible from outer space? Well, they are, in a joyful and humorous manner, presenting and worshipping the Thing … the only thing from the sacred past we have left to worship, namely Love itself.


- Thorhallur Magnusson