/04 Traces

Pétur Thomsen

Imported Landscape

In the year 2003 The National Power Company of Iceland started the building of the 700 MW Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Project in eastern Iceland. The project consists of three dams, one of them being the highest in Europe, and a hydroelectric powerplant. The dams block among others the big glacial river Jökulá á Dal, creating the 57km2 artificial lake Hálslón.
The Powerplant is primarily being constructed to supply electricity to a new Aluminium smelter built by Alcoa of USA in the fjord of Reyðarfjörður on the east coast of Iceland.
The artificial lake and the constructions have spoiled the biggest wild nature in Europe. Making the Kárahnjúkar project, not only the biggest project in Icelandic history, but also the most controversial one. There have been a lot of debates about this project. Environmentalists are fighting for the preservation of the wild nature while those supporting the project talk about the need to use the energy the nature has to offer.
The Kárahnjúkar project is one of the things that provoked the financial crisis in Iceland.
The best way for me to participate in the debate was to follow the land in its transformation. 
Since the beginning of the project in 2003, I went regularly to the construction site,
taking landscape photographs, showing Icelandic contemporary landscape.