Visual artist Snorri Ásmundsson’s request for a rather unusual prop to use in his next video has garnered significant attention in the Icelandic media.
“Looking for dead bodies in the name of the art. I need a corpse for a video installation. If you are dying I would like to borrow your remains after you die. The body will be returned to the undertaker in the ‘same’ condition,” wrote Snorri on his Facebook page yesterday afternoon.
The artist made a similar request back in 2008, which became a media sensation.
“Everything went crazy back then. This was on every radio station and TV station, and some of the coverage was pretty strange,” said Snorri to mbl.is yesterday.
“Some contacted priests for their opinion. They had decided I was intending to do something indecent with the bodies, but that wasn’t the case at all. But then the financial collapse happened so I put this idea on ice.”
At the time several people came forward and offered Snorri the use of their earthly remains after their departure from this spiritual plane.
One of the volunteers, a terminally ill Icelandic man, contacted the artist several months after the initial media circus, to tell him that not only was he still alive, but cured of his illness, and that he thanked the incident for his miraculous recovery.
The voluntary aspect is then very important to the artist, who says that he does not just want to use any body in his installation, but only one whose owner has consented to its proposed use pre-mortem.
“You can go to China or Mexico and buy a body, but I have no interest in that. I’m not that kind of morally corrupt. I want to do this piece in collaboration with the dead, not in the least out of respect for him and his family.”
Snorri has hired a lawyer, who has prepared a contract for anyone that volunteers to sign. “In the legal sense, I’m on the right side of the law. I’ve never heard of this being illegal, and then again, I’ve never heard of this being done before.”
“This is a dance piece, I will be dancing with the body,” said the artist when inquired as to the nature of the artwork.
He is, in his own words, not specifically seeking an Icelander to participate, but “just anyone who is prepared to be a part of this installation.”
Snorri has previously been in the media’s focus for a video he published in July a year ago.
The controversial video depicts a burqa-clad woman being abused and forced out of the frame by a man wearing a Star of David armband; two young men with Down’s Syndrome dressed as orthodox Hasidic Jews; and the artist himself as transgender Israeli Eurovision star Dana International, singing the Israeli national anthem, Hatikva.