Performance installation with artists from Denmark, Sweden, Iceland

The idea for the concept ”Happy New Year – Iceland” came from an urge to do something specific for the community in Iceland. A study made by the worldbank about poverty says that poverty is not a question about money but about feeling poor, without any hope for changing your own situation. That somehow describes the general feeling for a lot of icelandic people. Inspired by that we found the concept of community coaching.

The idea was to create a new years party for icelandic people, where the concept of a new years eve where used to its full, for the purpose of giving the participants an experience of going from the ”old years” state to another new one.

“New Year is the time to say a bye to the past things and look forward into the future with heart full of love and eyes filled with dreams. People have many dreams associated with New Year. Before sunrise on the New Year’s Day, on New Years Eve, many new resolutions give birth to many new hopes for the year that will arrive.“

We wanted to create the atmosphere and the emotions that’s a part of a new years eve and using the tools of coaching, we wanted people as a group and community of Iceland to rebuild the mental image of Iceland into something prosperous.

The project collected and created the different kinds of material for a new years eve. The new years music, new years speeches, our own TV version of the presidential new years speech, a Danish actress learned the Icelandic anthem and we created different kinds of games to create a feeling of being a community, lifting the responsibilities of society together. We also found out questions to ask about peoples wishes for a new year and experiences in the “old” year.

The performance

The plan was to set up a huge tent in downtown Reykjavik on a spot where a lot of people are passing by. We introduced the idea about having a new years party in the middle of June to the icelandic medias and we and the story of the project went immediately in newspaper, web-TV, radio. We also send out mail-flyers and made a webpage for the project.

For this outdoor event we had checked the weather forecast in the days before and it said it was going to be a perfect weather. On the day of the event we found out that it was going to be very close to storm and it would be impossible to put up the huge tent. It was also getting cold, due to the heavy wind, so we couldn’t expect people to stay for a long performance of the 2 hours we had planned. After considering the different kinds of options we decided to stay to the concept, but only using the basic of the tent for new years decoration and instead of one long new years performance, we decided to do a lot of 10 min. new years event.

From 14 o’clock people responding to our invitation in the medias or mailflyer began to show up. People passing by where also invited to this event. They got champagne, got new years hats, we where playing well known new years music and together with the actors they counted down from ten and jumped into the new year. To say the magic words “Happy New Year”, was overwhelming for some and we found out that the ritual has a lot of power and emotions build in. People huged and smiled and became happy about the concept of a new beginning. Because of the fact that we did it in the middle of the summer, people where laughing about the idea and opened up for the discussion about their own experience of the situation in Iceland and the hopes for a new Iceland. There was an open microphone for people to announce a speech or a new year wish. People where spontaneous happy about the event and participated in all the different kinds of new year happenings.

After two hours and approximately 10 pieces of “new years”, the show was over.



Ellen Nyman

Tue Biering

Nicolaj Spangaa

Jón Páll Eyjólfsson

Jón Atli Jónasson


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