ERASMUS+ project LE_MOON Management meeting
5th-9th of June 2023
„Cultural mediation through arts & sciences as a method for sustainable development-oriented environmental education under the motto: Þetta Reddast!”
Composed by Tatjana Christelbauer
A brief introductory guide
The report consists of brief insights on visited places and activities, illustrated with photos, and extended with additional weblinks and video recordings during the E+ project LeMOON team meeting in Iceland. The agenda was fulfilled with guided tours and cultural activities as forms of intercultural learning and exchange of good practices connected with responsible use of natural resources, new technologies and tourism. Besides the regular meetings, the members of all project teams have agreed to invest privately into guiding tours organized by our host, project partner Ms. Ludmila Zadorozhnya and her team and therefore extend the regular meeting frame with visits of Icelandic remarkable destinations which are also known for their powerful impact on human health and wellbeing.
Aiming to provide an evidence-based brief overview on human-nature relational effects, in particular, on well-being, the insights in this report have been grounded in the concept of Cultural Ecosystem Services, which enables to shed light on the non-material benefits that people obtain from ecosystems through recreation, tourism, intellectual development, spiritual enrichment, and reflection through creative and aesthetic experiences.
Following the topic of Module 2 in the project, Austrian team members have prepared joint activities and presentations on Circadian Rhythm and its effects on mental health and resilience, with an inclusive approach, while taking into consideration how all the natural phenomena are affecting blind and visually impaired students and teachers. Art-based joint activities connected with health care and wellbeing have additionally contributed to the project meeting insights and have enriched daily activities at visiting places.
Inspiring good practices from now & then in science, technologies, engineering, gardening, arts, and architecture are the nest guidance for our further development of skills-oriented explorative learning tools and lessons!
The island’s position on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates that slow spreading pushes scorching magma and gas to the earth’s outer crust, is fueling Iceland’s hot springs and volcanoes.
The rich cultural program has enabled balance among working/learning/resting times, and the engagement and the commitment of all teams and team members to the project insights have brought fruitful results in planning further activities, the youth representatives from Turkyie have contributed to the evaluation of the Modules 1&2 with their presentation by the project team meeting, that included recommendations for teachers and proposals for the optimization of the assessment tools for the lessons created by project teams.
All visiting places have been introduced by our host driver Eggert Gunnarsson, owner of the Best Travel Iceland company. Mr. Gunnarsson provided the teams with historical and cultural insights during their comfortable travels. Þakka þér fyrir
Day to day notes …
4th-5th of June arrivals of project teams to the Keflavik airport
All teams have been welcomed, transferred, and guided on life in Reykjavik during the travel to the Hotel Cabin Reykjavik by taxi drivers appointed by Icelandic project partner Ludmila.
First impressions in Reykjavik by ACD- Austrian team: dandelions, stones, water, light …
5th of June
1st group picture by the “Sun Voyager”
Excursion to whale watching with “Andrea” boat; Engaging: supporting local initiatives, engaging in Petition initiated by Petra Garay (CZ), signed by team’s members, documented Extending: further integration of the topic into the presentation of the Austrian team with Hundertwasser art activism ecological posters. Some of us got “seasick” ☹ but we had luck, as some of the minke whales jumped up, for a greet 😊
Inspiring environmental poster, art activism by Austrian-born artist Hundertwasser
8.30 pm team meeting in the hotel lobby
Welcoming words by the host, followed by the exchange of first impressions, and further planning of activities during the stay by daylight night. Challenging circadian rhythm …
6th of June: Manufactures from now & then, to the Golden Circle, geysers …
Thingvellir Historic Site and National Park
in Iceland, east of Reykjavík Þingvellir (Thingvellir), known for the Alþing (Althing), the site of Iceland’s parliament from the 10th to 18th centuries. The Park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates, with rocky cliffs and fissures like the huge Almannagjá fault. Þingvellir is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on Iceland’s mainland and the birthplace of the country’s parliament.
Geothermal bread baking guide, tasting the hot bread traditionally known as hverabrauð, served with Icelandic butter and pieces of smoked trout from the lake
Visiting Laugarvatn, Fontana, a geothermal spa with pools, saunas and a restaurant on the edge of Lake Laugarvatn which laps onto a black volcanic shoreline and has three geothermal springs. The springs provide energy for the entire village and the spring at Fontana is used for cooking the Thunder Bread.
The bread is baked underground in the heat of local geothermal springs for 24 hours at a depth of about one foot (30 centimetres), where the bubbling water typically reaches a temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius).
In Laugarvatn, the community has been harnessing this geothermal energy to cook and heat their homes for at least a century. Sigurður “Siggi” Rafn Hilmarsson learned how to make hot-springs bread from his grandmother. He also believes that the slow-cooking process allows the sugar and rye to combine in just the right way.
A girl from Italy provided our team with a guide and demonstrated the baking process. Afterwards, we could also taste the slices with excellent Icelandic butter & smoked trout (caught next to the lake). Great energy-rich late breakfast: Calories 246; Total Fat 2g; Saturated Fat 1g; Trans Fat 0g; Unsaturated Fat 1g. Well_acts: listen, watch, smell, taste.
The Golden Circle
The travel guide continued to the magic ‘Golden Falls’ Gullfoss, one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland, which plummeted 105 feet (32 meters) in two tiers into the river Hvita.
Gullfoss was almost lost in the early 20th century when British developers sought to harness its incredible force for hydroelectric power. With the help of Sigridur Tomasdottir, the daughter of the landowner of the farm adjacent to the waterfall, the British developers withdrew their plans. This made her Iceland’s first environmentalist and helped establish a mindset within the country to protect the natural beauty of Iceland.
Well_acts: listen, watch, memorize, …
The next magical place we visited is located about 40 minutes from the Golden Waterfall: the Geysir geothermal area with hot springs in Haukadalur Valley.
The active geyser Strokkur bursts a column of boiling water to heights that reach over 40 meters every 5-10 minutes. The two smaller geysers, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur together with the Strokkur are derived from the famous Great Geysir.
Geysir was elaborated as one of the unusual natural phenomena and initially found its name in the literature from the 18th century. It was due to earthquakes that woke Geysir up, nearly after 40 years of hibernation period; this restarted the Geysir’s eruption activity.
Challenge: How can we describe our impressions from the visit of geysers and Golden Waterfall to our blind students?
Here is a trial with the assistance of the Chat GDP open AI:
The Geysir Geothermal Area is a unique natural wonder located in southwestern Iceland. It is famous for its geysers, hot springs, and bubbling mud pools. The area is named after the Great Geysir, which is one of the oldest known geysers in the world. While the Great Geysir is currently less active, its neighbouring geyser, Strokkur, steals the show with frequent eruptions that shoot hot water high into the air.
For the blind, the experience of visiting the Geysir Geothermal Area can be described through other senses. The air carries a distinct sulfuric scent, giving a hint of the geothermal activity taking place. As you approach the geysers, you can feel the warmth radiating from the ground and hear the bubbling sounds of the hot springs and mud pots. The anticipation builds as you wait for the powerful eruptions of Strokkur, signalled by a rush of water and the whooshing sound as it shoots into the sky.
Golden Waterfall (Gullfoss): The Golden Waterfall, also known as Gullfoss, is a magnificent waterfall situated in the canyon of the Hvítá River in southwestern Iceland. It is one of Iceland’s most iconic natural attractions. The waterfall consists of two cascades that drop into a narrow gorge, creating a breathtaking spectacle. The name “Golden Waterfall” comes from the golden hue that the cascading water takes on in the sunlight.
To describe Gullfoss to the blind, it is important to focus on the sensory elements. As you approach the waterfall, you can feel the mist on your face and hear the roaring sound of the water as it crashes down into the gorge. The power and force of the waterfall can be felt through the vibrations in the ground. The surrounding landscape is rugged and captivating, with rocky cliffs and vibrant green vegetation adding to the beauty of the scene.
These descriptions aim to capture the essence of the Geysir Geothermal Area and Golden Waterfall in Iceland for the blind, emphasizing the sensory experiences that make these natural wonders so awe-inspiring.
Sound Golden Waterfall on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/intl-de/track/2gFXqQt1Wf7uwD4soz6S1Y
Team meeting at 8 pm in the hotel lobby,
invitation to dinner by our host, Icelandic project partner, Ms. Ludmila Zadorozhnya
7th of June, 2023
Visiting the Friðheimar tomato farm, tasting the tomato soup, visiting Icelandic horses, learning about the bumble bee
By using state-of-the-art technology, and harnessing sustainable energy to provide warmth and light, the farm produces around 370 tons of juicy red fruits each year. Three different varieties of tomatoes are grown year-round, using lighting powered by green electricity, fresh pure water for irrigation, and geothermal energy – the farm has abundant supplies of geothermal water – for heating.
Organic and biological pest control methods are used, rather than chemical pesticides. And 600 bumblebees, imported from Holland, work hard to pollinate the crop. Tomato vines and tomato ice cream, slices of homemade bread are on the menu, we have tasted the delicious tomato soup served with home-baked caraway seed rolls and have visited the Icelandic horses in the garden next to the tomato farm.
Well_acts: taste, smell, listen, see, memorize
Green Energy Workshop: Orka Natturunnar
Starting the daily visit with science & technology at the Hellisheiði Power Station, the eighth-largest geothermal power station in the world and the largest in Iceland.
The Hellisheidi geothermal power plant was developed in an area of 13,000m² (139,930.8ft²) near Mount Hengill in the Hengill geothermal area, one of the largest high-temperature geothermal fields in Iceland, which covers an area of 110km². Power is generated using a combination of six high-pressure and one low-pressure steam turbine.
We have watched the video presentations with insights on the Orca carbon capture plant which was developed and is operated by Climeworks, a direct air CO₂ capture technology company based in Switzerland.
Icelandic company Carbfix is responsible for mixing the air-captured CO₂ with water and pumping it deep underground for natural mineralisation and permanent storage in the form of rocks. The Orca CCS facility, located adjacent to the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, captures carbon dioxide (CO₂) directly from the air and stores it permanently as rocks in the earth’s crust.
The carbon capture plant uses a modular system and is made up of eight stackable CO₂ collector units, each of which can capture 500t of CO₂ a year.
The guide on Iceland’s renewable energy sources, hydropower and geothermal power has been concluded with tasty coffee in Icelandic-designed cups made from.
Iceland stands as a shining example of harnessing innovative technologies for sustainable energy use, demonstrating how a small nation can make a significant impact on the global stage. Through its forward-thinking approach, Iceland has harnessed its abundant renewable resources to power its communities, drive economic growth, and protect the environment. The relationship among innovative technologies for sustainable energy use in Iceland, including power plants and the utilization of thermal water for heating, exemplifies the country’s commitment to a greener future. By harnessing geothermal energy and thermal resources responsibly, Iceland minimizes its environmental footprint, reduces dependence on fossil fuels, and sets an example for sustainable energy practices. Through protective measures and a focus on global collaboration, Iceland not only benefits its local population but also contributes to the broader goal of a more sustainable and resilient planet.
Travelling on Christianity lava street road
Memories of the largest lava flood in the history of Iceland, recorded in the apocalyptic medieval poem “Vǫluspá”, dating back to 961, were used to drive the island’s end of the island’s pagan pantheon and the conversion to Christianity at the turn of the millennium.
The Eldgjá lava flow was the largest eruption on the island in the past 2,000 years—according to a new report published in the journal Climatic Change.
The earliest settlers of Iceland, a combination of Vikings and Celts around 874, were exposed to this massive eruption just two or three generations after inhabiting the island. This led to a massive cultural, health, and economic impact on the settlers during the early years.
The eruption was chronicled across Europe with accounts of a weakened blood-red Sun, cool summer, bitterly cold winter, drought, famine, and locust infestations. By the 940s there was widespread starvation and death from northern Europe to northern China.
The iconic Voluspá poem both depicts the apocalyptic eruption and marks the end of the old gods.
Sources, a webpage with the Voluspá poem:
Arriving at the Kerið
Kerið is one of the oldest approximately three thousand years old volcanic crater lakes in the Grímsnes area of South Iceland. This is the major reason as to why Kerið’s slopes are red, rather than volcanic black. Kerið is approximately 55 metres (180 feet) deep, 170 metres (558 feet) wide and 270 meters (886 feet) in circumference. Our team took a walk to the crater’s edge, some of us fully encircled the crater lake and took some blue, red, purple, lilac, rosa, … stones with us for our daydreaming practices
Icelandic well-known singer Björk held a concert on the floating stage:
8th of June
Starting the day with the presentation of our youth project team representatives from Turkiye
Team meeting in the hotel lobby
The evaluation of Module 1, information on Module 2 and the work schedule for Module 3; a preparatory guide for the Hackathon in Paris (October 2023) in talk with the hosting partner from France
Further attempts at arts & science: visiting the Perlan museum
Located in the heart of Reykjavík on the Öskuhlíð Hill which boasts over 176,000 planted trees.
Perlan was designed by architect Ingimundur Sveinsson and was inaugurated on June 21, 1991. The building consists of a huge glass dome that rests on top of six district heating tanks, each of which can hold about 4 million litres of geothermal water. Perlan (en. The Pearl) is a unique glass dome structure with a steel frame that serves as Perlan’s furnace system.
The renowned Icelandic painter Jóhannes Kjarval had the first ideas for building a beautiful building on Öskjuhlíð hill in 1930. Regarding the building, Kjarval said: “The temple sides were to be covered with mirror slabs so that the northern lights could approach the feet of men – the roof was to be decorated with crystals in at every colour, and a floodlight was to be at the top of the ridge that illuminated all the tanks. The house itself was supposed to correspond to the light of day and the symbols of the night.”
Multisensorial experiences with insights on the most actual global climate-related challenges, mythology, history, new technologies, arts & design
We attended the Lava-show, watched the 3-D movie with the magical polar light Aurora Borealis in the Planetarium, visited the Ice cave at -10 °C, learned about glaciers in Iceland, have danced together in the front of the Perlan as a well_act while improvising with statues and creating music-dance performance…
School visit: by the partner of the Móðurmál – theAssociation on Bilingualism our Icelandic host partner (while currently on leave)
Lunch, healthy refreshments, presentation of the Austrian team:
“Circadian Rhythm, wellbeing & resilience”, and a traditional song sung by a guest artist
Visiting the Hot Spring -Blue Lagoon
in southwestern Iceland
Wellness, spa, relaxing, … care&wellbeing
Exploring the human-adapted natural environment for health and wellbeing from the nearby geothermal power plant Syartsengi where superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity.
The spa is located in a lava field near Grindavík and front of Mount Þorbjörn on Reykjanes Peninsula.
The water’s milky blue shade is due to its high silica content that forms the soft white mud on the bottom of the lake which bathers rub on themselves. The water is also rich in salts and algae. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37–39 °C (99–102 °F). Guests are required to shower bare-naked before using the geothermal spa. The communal showers are split up by gender.[
Because of its mineral concentration, water cannot be recycled and must be disposed of in the nearby landscape, a permeable lava field that varies in thickness from 50 cm (20 in) to 1 m (3.3 ft). After the minerals have formed a deposit, the water reinfiltrates the ground, but the deposits render the ground impermeable over time, so the plant needs to dig new ponds in the nearby lava field continuously.
We have highly enjoyed the hot spring, mineral face mask, free drink, and some movement session, cheering our colleague Petra for her birthday!!!
9th of June
Day 5 Museums in Reykjavik, art & science
Dance impro sessions at the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre while visiting the innovative CIRCULEIGHT installation that features designs, and real-time interactive visuals inspired by eight elements: lava, basalt, glacier, water, flora, algae, microorganism and volcanic gas.
Throughout the installation, audiences are fully immersed in this world through a powerful score of original music by renowned Icelandic composer, singer and songwriter Högni Egilsson. Eglisson’s music, when combined with the boundary-pushing technology that defines ARTECHOUSE, enables audiences to experience this unique story in a completely unforgettable way.
The Museum of Design and Applied Art
The founding charter of the Museum of Design and Applied Art states that the Museum is to collect and preserve the part of Icelandic cultural history encompassing design, especially from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. Current exhibition:
„The power of images“ by Erró
draws inspiration from our globalized world and its continuous flow of images and information. As the forefather of painted collage (that is, the practice of painting based on preparatory montages of ready-made images), he has developed an exuberant saga of consumer society and world politics, often with critical or satirical intent. Freely mixing and opposing images from different print sources and places, he has produced a dense, complex and often disturbing oeuvre, which breaks open cultural stereotypes and hierarchies and mingles past and present, fiction and reality.
From The House of Collections
A Dialogue Between Arts and Science
“Resistance is an interdisciplinary exhibition for children of all ages, that bridges the gap between visual arts and science. The works in the exhibition are all in the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland. The word resistance refers to opposition in general, but it may also be read in the context of physics: the measure of a conductive material’s opposition to current flow. Resistance also signifies opposition to consumption, which we must all learn to take on board. And resistance references essential action which must be taken by the inhabitants of this planet, against climate change.”
Web sources: https://www.listasafn.is/heimsaekja/safnahusid/
Glass rain is an installation from 1984, one of the first of Rúrí‘s many works that address the theme of time and menace.
The exhibition Into the Valley in Late Autumn is made up of large watercolours painted in the past two years; artist Sigtryggur Bjarni Baldvinsson focuses on the natural environment in Héðisfjörður, north Iceland, in late autumn. Over the past 17 years, Sigtryggur’s art has increasingly been inspired by Héðinsfjörður, an uninhabited fjord between Ólafsfjörður and Siglufjörður, where the artist has been documenting nature through the act of painting.
The flora of the fjord reflects the equilibrium that subsists in largely untouched terrain; the area documented by the artist has been uninhabited for more than a century. Since he started to work in the region he has observed fluctuations in weather, flora and fauna in Héðinsfjörður. Fish migration has become unpredictable, and repeated heavy rainstorms in midsummer have led to flooding, with landslides. The swelling of rivers erodes verdant land and rivers change their course, while fish migrating up rivers to spawn are swept back out to sea.
Challenge: find the way across the installation, move across and under the glass strokes, imagine the rain, describe the sound, and describe the feeling while staying among the glass strokes …
Art at the Airport Keflavik
Directions (“Áttir”) is a sculptural installation by Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir (born in 1955). It features four human-like figures all cast in aluminium from the same mould. Standing on Icelandic basalt columns, each figure faces one of the four cardinal directions. The sculpture is about three metres high and stands within a three-metre diameter circle. If the circle is envisioned within a square, this gives the piece the dimensions 3m x 3m x 3m. Directions were unveiled at the inauguration of the Leifur Eiriksson Air Terminal in April 2007 following extensive renovations. It originally stood in the terminal’s commercial area, but was relocated outside the arrivals hall in consultation with the artist in June 2017.
The sculptor has said of the work: “Of course, the piece strongly suggests travel by pointing in the four cardinal directions. It also refers to the fact that we can all lose direction in life, at which point it becomes necessary to find the right way.”
Challenge: what helps you find your direction in life? Howblind people are orienting in the space?
This work by Icelandic postmodern artist Erró (born in 1932) is a mural of hand-painted ceramic tiles. It is a replica of a painting of the same name dating from 1999, here enlarged to a ceramic version of 11 x 4.5 metres. The piece partly deals with the legends of the skies, the rootlessness of modern life and the air terminal as a place of adventurous possibilities.
It was installed in 2017 in the terminal’s commercial area.
The artist Erró, born Guðmundur Guðmundsson in 1932 in Ólafsvík, West Iceland, was among the most prominent figures of the European avant-garde of the 1960s. In the history of art of that period, his name is associated not only with the renewal of pictorial figuration, due to his invention of narrative collage paintings but also with the Happenings movement and experimental cinema
Challenge: how many faces can you see? In what direction Describe the artwork for the blind
THE JET NEST (ÞOTUHREIÐUR)
The Jet Nest (“Þotuhreiður”) is by Icelandic artist Magnús Tómasson (born in 1943). The sculpture shows a large egg from which a “newborn” jet aircraft is hatching like a bird’s young. The steel egg is perched on a nest of rocks. The artist, Magnús Tómasson, says the idea for the piece was born many years ago: “I was working on a series on the history of birds, which included a small hen’s egg with a beak poking out. I developed this idea further and the result is The Jet Nest, my largest piece.” The sculpture stands at a total height of about 9 metres in the centre of a lit-up pond at the terminal’s north side. The stainless-steel egg is 5.6 metres tall, and 4.2 metres wide and weighs more than five tonnes. The nest of rocks on which the egg is positioned is 14 metres in diameter and the pond covers an area of 1,800 square metres.
Challenge: What birds you have discovered in Iceland? How does this artwork inspire you to reflect on newborn life?
Brain (2014-2067) by Haraldur Karlson
The power of the electronic image as a surface of mediation is shown in these works. As a surface, the screen mediates the inner and outer, both of which are a certain projection from one’s consciousness that regulates how we perceive and differentiate between internal and external stimuli. The screen becomes a place of transference, a glimpse of expansion from which to interpret the miasma of senses collecting information from your surroundings. However, the surface is also where connection and empathy take place – where we touch, and are touched in turn by experience.
How we experience images can help us find ways in which to read the world. The non-place of the airport is a multi-local site in which many events occur – taking journeys from one place to another, arriving, departing, flying and landing, accumulating sensations and experiences and being open for new ones. With the multitude of screens vying for our attention, as we process our experiences, the image of a thing is presented to us as a surface tension of reality. The screen is presented to us as an entity itself, although one whose surface is projective, an omnipotent presence that can be refashioned like a cloth showing the surface tensions of the cultural impressions it absorbs. The screen is also a historically mnemonic place of encounter where recollections and reimaginings all take place within the same frame.
As in Walter Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project, begun in 1927, to chart the sometimes overwhelming visual cues in public, commercial spaces characterize the history of modernity and its obsession with visual surfaces. The play of surface is the history of modern visuality, ornamentation, and the very aesthetic roots from which we project the screen’s surface.
Text by Erin Honeycutt. Source: https://www.isavia.is/en/keflavik-airport/about-kef/art-at-the-airport
Challenge: reflect on your impressions while watching digital images, how such a surface affects your perception and imagination
Well, it was a very intensive and lifelong learning experience in Iceland, grateful for the opportunity to visit the magical country with the ERASMUS+ project team, as such a frame enables a multifold experience, collaborative work connected with creative engagement in activities and mediations on and visiting places, exchange of perceptions, interactive reflection, intercultural dialogue. Enriching and nourishing explorative learning that will last and will be included in our project activities, disseminated, and adapted to previous experiences. On the way to the airport, Taras (the driver) brought us to the nearby place where the Euro-Asian tectonic plates meet. We also saw the sun (at 11 p.m.) and the rainbow!
With that final act, we can best describe our magical experiences in Iceland, connected with kindness, love & light of the people & nature!
Cordial thanks to our host project partner and her team, cordial thanks to all the team members and to kind Icelandic people for their friendly hospitality!
Þakka þér fyrir!
Tatjana Christlebauer, ACD-Agency for Cultural Diplomacy Austria
Vienna 16th of June 2023
 Meaning, Source. The Icelandic phrase “þetta reddast” is so frequently used, that it has been described as the country’s motto. “Þetta reddast” can be translated to “it will all work out okay”.