If you can make nature and technology friends, then you can make everyone friends; you can make everyone intact. That’s what women do a lot—they’re the glue between a lot of things. Not only artists, but whatever job they do: in the office, or homemakers.
We also have in common a strong relationship with nature. Both Sjón and I know that you don’t have to choose between nature and civilization. These two can coexist. And in this way I feel we are better equipped than some of the urban areas in the world to imagine a hopeful twenty-first century. Both in reality and in fiction.
Sjón’s books are unique. I feel he has managed to take the thread of classic literature and continue into the future. Connect with the roots of authentic old Iceland and then bring it in a streamlined way into the twenty-first century. Take on Iceland’s strong relationship with nature and make it shake hands with the modern times. But more importantly he has managed to unite intelligence and the heart.
I heard somebody say that he watched some crazy game, for like eight hours a day, that had the wrong physics in it—like all the distances to the mountains or whatever didn’t add up. So, what happened after a few days, is first he would get seasick when he was in the machine, and then he would actually get used to it. Then when he would take the machine off him, he would get seasick. He had to put it back on to not throw up. That’s obviously very scary. Then with anything, you have to work out things like the soul and humanity, and what’s good for you, and not be lazy. These good old ethics can come back. To not get addicted.
What we decided to do while this technology is still in the making—and it’s still being discovered, but people don’t know what it is—is to just use this search as an element. How do you hang a song on the wall?
If it feels right, it’s right. If not, then, you know, just go off the map. You lost your map, so just go off it.
I found a poetic reason for that because the song was written in a dark crevice in the middle of the night in Japan, so it was that claustrophobic feeling of being in a tiny canyon.
It was very obvious somehow that the touchscreen was basically a 3D book. You can see that now. How it’s mostly used, it’s great for schools, and especially things like physics or math or music, or things that have to be 3D. It’s the same thing. It makes sense for me to go back to this, because it’s sort of like first you discover the tool, then it’s like meeting a new friend, and then you can try and figure where the magic happens, where the most potential is to grow. It’s that heat point, and that feeling of entering the unknown, that really excites me.
When we were doing the tour of the album Volta, we had touchscreens. This was before iPads. Whenever there’s new technology, one of my favorite things—a sort of murder mystery thing—is to figure out, “Oh, what’s this for?” A lot of things are rubbish, but there’s always one thing where it’s like, “Oh, technology finally caught up with us, and now it can map out this very natural function in me.” It makes life easier. People think I’m really, really good with technology. Actually, it’s the other way around. I’m really rubbish. When an iPad comes along, it makes technology usable for me.
I think it’s also some sort of instinct, just knowing that if there is to be hope, we have to unite technology and nature. You have to make them coexist, and they have to be able to work together. I mean, it has to happen, if we’re going to survive. Maybe I’m being a bit limited, but the older I get, I realize better and better how I’m formed by my origins and where I’m from. But somehow it’s easier for me to imagine that happening in a natural situation—like me talking on a phone on the beach to you now from a capital in Europe. You have technology, or GarageBand in your iPhone and record a tune on top of a mountain.