Jez and Ellenberger talk about the idea that there is room for queer spaces in the silence when considering Iceland’s Queer history. Iris notes that there are limitations in tracing Queer history due to the lack of language and terminology, but that this does not mean the culture did not exist before the break in silence.
Jez feels that silence is a big part of the art work he makes, and that it is important to consider why we are revisiting Queerness in history. Ellenberger notes that Iceland’s Queerness dates back further than the 60s, but it was only after the gay movement in the country that the following generations adopteded this identity.
Jez considers the challenge of labelling an artwork or artist with a specific orientation from the period before homosexuality was partially decriminalised in Britain, and feels it is problematic because it may not have been an identity that the artist would have identified with at the time. Íris agrees that this is also a problem in uncovering Iceland’s Queer history. She believes this is due to it being a sensitive subject, and the fact that they are dealing with source material collected from relatives and close relations, there is a reluctancy to label the individuals in this material.
Jez talks about the problem of uncovering relevant material from the past, a great deal of it having been destroyed, and considers whether this is an issue in tracing Iceland’s Queer past. Ellenberger agrees that it has been hard to uncover or find material from the past, and with regards to particular stories she has found that a lot of material has simply been destroyed.
In terms of source material, Ellenberger has traced a story of Queerness in Iceland from as early as 1616. She goes on to explain that up until the 20th century there is a lack of source material in Iceland. Jez and Íris consider the reasons for this, and how this information is mostly conveyed through oral histories and sometimes gossip.
Jez and Íris discuss the diary of Ólafur Davíðsson, the idea of Queer space, and the notion that he used a particular language to express his sexuality and feelings. Ellenberger feels that Ólafur had a different frame of reference for his sexuality at this time in 1881-82 due to his education.
Jez talks briefly about Queer communities in Manchester, and considers how people come to understand and find themselves in these communities. He questions Íris on the importance of understanding the history of Queer identities. Íris feels that sexual identities change all the time, and that there has always been space for all of them to exist
Jez and Íris talk specifically about Icelandic Queer history, the lack there of, and how this correlates to Scandinavian places that have similarities to Iceland in terms of ruralism. Íris explains that the Queer history of Iceland has only recently been researched, and that it is hard to distinguish what makes Iceland unique.