Kristín Mjöll Bjarnadóttir Johnsen

Kristín Mjöll Bjarnad Johnsen
© Antje Taiga Jandrig

Kristín Mjöll Bjarnadóttir Johnsen is an Icelandic multidisciplinary artist based in Reykjavík, Iceland. Kristín uses playfulness and interaction to explore and speculate about the future and alternative realities. In her work, she mainly explores feminism, sexuality, ethics, technology, and speculations. Kristín has a BA in visual arts from The Icelandic University of the Arts (IUA) and an MFA in performing arts from the same school. Kristín is one of two members in the performance group Holdgervlar, which released their debut music album in September 2020 on the underground label MYRKFÆLNI. The Holdgervlar themselves are xeno-robots, ready-made organisms with human roots. They were awarded One to Watch at the 2021 Grapevine Music Awards. Kristín, along with actress Björk Guðmundsdóttir, hosted a workshop for the IUA summerschool 2021 in improvisation and live action role playing hybrid. The storyline of the workshop took place at the universe of Holdgervlar.

Report during the symposium:


Anthropocentrism and technological progression are the cornerstones of my current art research. In August 2021, I hosted a workshop where the partcipants reflected upon and challenged these two fundamentals. The workshop was a hybrid of Live Action Role Play (LARP) and improvised theatre, set in an alternative world. The workshop at its core was an invitation for empathy and teamwork. Everyone must put in their effort for the game to work out as well as possible. The changes that need to be made for our social-ecological systems today can feel overwhelming. This workshop does not solve these problems but is more of a prologue for change, a social dialogue of speculations through play. This was an invitation to an alternative world where people get to completely immerse themselves in another being’s life and interests (the player’s character) and, with care and respect, elevate the character for the game and try to step out of their own anthropocentric narrative. I firmly believe that role playing is an excellent tool for sharpening our group consciousness. The player may sympathise with being a character who either lacks or has surplus rights and social status that differ from what the player is used to in their everyday life. The player may also generate empathy through being a part of a network that does not follow a familiar structure at all.