The Icelandic Love Corporation


By Þórhallur Magnússon, 2000


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 Revival, Faith, Hope and Grace, A Fresh Start, Higher

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 Blow Job. 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 containingn 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.


Þórhallur Magnússon - 2000