Hrafntinna/Sort Glimmer/Black Obsidian

A cooperative multimedia art project by composer Hilmar Thórdarson and conductor/composer Halldis Rønning.

It comes as a result of their successful work during the “Bridging the Gap – ConDiS project” in 2017-19. This project was part of Thórdarson’s Norwegian Artistic Research Programme where he developed a digital conducting glove (ConGlove) that brings the electronic aspects of musical expressivity directly under the conductor’s control.

During that cooperation, Thórdarson and Rønning learned that their musical interests and ideas had a lot in common. 

They learned that they wanted to explore Thórdarsons “ConGlove” further and use it in improvisation projects with ensembles and apply a visual aspect to the performance using the same technology. To realize the project, they successfully contacted three Nordic ensembles the Caput of Iceland and IMNO and Tabula Rasa voices of Norway. They are now in search of a video artist who will be in charge of the visual aspects.

“Hrafntinna/Black Obsidian” is avant-garde in trying out new possibilities of interactive technology through live ensemble conducting. The three ensembles, the Caput ensemble of Iceland, the IMNO ensemble, and Tabula Rasa vocals of Norway, are open to working in experimental workshops to get the most out of such an artistic collaboration. The performance is interactive, which means that everyone performing makes their imprint on the final result.  

The composition is, at times, utterly precisely written yet also gives room for improvisational and theatrical parts from the ensemble musicians, visuals, and the conductor’s creative use of interactive conducting technology.

“Hrafntinna/Black Obsidian” has support from the Norwegian Art Council and the Norwegian–Iceland Culture Fond. The first workshop and experimental performance took place in Bergen, Norway in June 2020. Other workshops were held in Bergen in May 2021 and Iceland in September 2021.

The official world premiere of the work will take place at the Reykjavik Art Festival on June 5th, 2022.

The target groups of the project are people of all ages who are interested in innovative art that introduces new ways of expressing music and visuals.

Hrafntinna – Black Obsidian. Excerpt from the world premiere at the Reykjavik Art Festival 2022.

About the work:

Hrafntinna/Black Obsidian is an interactive multimedia production that includes live music, video, and performance art.

In public performance, the musicians will be spread out in the room and the video/visuals will be projected on all four walls as well as the ceiling. It’s our idea that the partly abstract video and sound should float in the room, around and amongst the audience, independent of each other, move at different speeds, and also meet and blend.  We picture several unique sonic and visual worlds that are based on different imaginary levels like the sky, deep waters, and volcanic soil and activity. Or another interpretation: past, future, and the now, or fluctuating times all connected in the present moment.

The audience should be surrounded by sound and colors/images. (see setup illustration)


Workshop videos 2019-2022

The following is a short example from last year’s workshop held on June 9 – 13 in Bergen, Norway. Performers are:
IMNO Ensemble: Jostein Stalheim, Guro Moe, Else Olsen S.
Tabula Rasa Vocal Ensemble: Arild Rohde, Tord Kalvenes, Zsuzsa Zseni, Sigrun Jørdre.
Conductor: Halldis Rønning
Electronic sounds: Hilmar Thordarson
Choreography: Karen Eidee Bøen
Technological assistance: William French
Sound Engineer: Elaine Maltezos

Online Workshop in May 2021. Low drone sending musical exercises instructed by Halldis Rønning (live) and Hilmar Thórdarson (online)
Sync.- Stop. Online Workshop in May 2021. Choreographic exercises instructed by Karen Eide Bøen.
Arms out of Sync. Online Workshop in May 2021. Choreographic exercises instructed by Karen Eide Bøen.
Hrafntinna/Black Obsidian, excerpt from a workshop performance, June 13th, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland.