International Conference


Music and Nature

18.-20. May 2011, Reykjavik (Island)


Birgit Abels and Andreas Waczkat


A Sense of Home: Sigur Rós‘s Heima, Nature and the Audio-Visual Construction of Iceland



We will analyze how the Icelandic environment provides, both literally and metaphorically speaking, a milieu for the statements (or, l’énoncés) with which Sigur Rós generates a sense of 'Icelandicness' in their 2007 film Heima, and how the band sensually constructs their “heima,” Iceland, at the interfaces between visual, aural and environmental statements that jointly and discursively evoke a relation between nature and the band’s music. We will look at the discursive function the film assigns to sonic ecology; analyze the use of so-called “acoustic windows” or the sonic ecology of quietness; contextualize references to Icelandic folk songs featured in Sigur Rós’s earlier repertoire and in the film,  relate the mise-en-scène, décor, and social setting to the musical plot; ask how ecological activism is connected to and given voice by Sigur Rós's Heima, and to which ends; and, finally, examine how together, all this aids in the construction of a sense of nature-oriented Icelandicness.


Research included fieldwork in Djúpavík, a remote spot where Sigur Rós played one of the concerts shown in Heima in an abandoned fish cannery.



Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Andreas Waczkat | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen |

Kurze Geismarstr. 1 | D–37073 Göttingen

Telefon: +49 551 39-25072 | mail:


Inhaltlich Verantwortlicher gemäß § 55 Abs. 2 RStV: Andreas Waczkat (Anschrift wie nebenstehend)

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