An AR journey to discover a deeper relationship with nature through Icelandic folklore.
We’ve lost a connection to nature—maybe you feel it too. But what if we could tap into something deeper that binds us together?
There is magic, hope and comfort in ancient stories and folklore for whom global trouble is not a stranger.
Throughout history, folklore has been a way to connect the past to the present and understand a balance with nature. This is the heart of Kvöldvaka, a playful interactive augmented reality documentary for mobile devices and on-site installation, designed to be experienced outdoor in nature.
A mischievous member of the Huldufólk–or Hidden People–helps you discover a hidden world, and a deeper relationship to nature that has been lost. If you are worthy, you will see it.
How can ancient stories and folklore inform us in an era of climate crisis?
Kvöldvökur, or Night Wakings, hails back to early days of human inhabitation in Iceland. Storytellers travelled from home to home spinning tales for Icelandic families as they rested from a long day of work in the inhospitable terrain. The Night Wakings were how traditions and understanding of the natural world were passed on.
Huldufólk, or Hidden People who are protectors of nature, is a piece of folklore from these Night Wakings. Those who are in tune with their surroundings can sense the energy and life embedded in the environment. Once your third eye is opened, you can interact with the Huldufólk dimension.
Through their awareness of Hidden People, many Icelanders have a different relationship with nature. Kvöldvaka extends this same spirit to everyone who experiences it. You don’t have to be in Iceland, you can be in your country–– and if you are able to start to see the dimension of the hidden beings living around you in nature, your mental image of your space can change. And with it, your relationship to the natural world.
Lead Artists & Production Team
Dane Christensen is an immersive media filmmaker who specializes in storytelling with emerging mediums to explore space, identity and perspective. He teaches XR workshops, produces 360 films and intermedia installations around the world. Dane has an MFA in Documentary Film from Stanford University.
Director, Hologram Design
Carol Dalrymple is an Emmy-award winning filmmaker and Oculus Launchpad Fellow who explores connecting people through the convergence of storytelling, evolving technology, and the physical world. Founder of film mentorship non-profit Edge of Discovery and a longtime PBS documentary craftsman, she also creates XR installations, workshops and 360 films. caroldalrymple.com
Co-Director, Creative Technologist [USA]
Barna Szász is a Hungarian documentary filmmaker who has specialized in creating XR experiences. His work has been featured by The Guardian, Staff Pick at Vimeo, show at DOC NYC, DOK Leipzig and other festivals. He has an MFA in Documentary Film from Stanford University where he has also lectured on XR. barnaszasz.com
Producer, Interaction & Narrative Design [HUNGARY]
Ragnhildur "Ragga" Jónsdóttir is a seer, artist and elf friend, has been in contact with elves and hidden people since childhood. In recent years, she has focused on advocating for the elves and working for reconciliation and dialogue between humans and elves. elfgarden.is
Producer, Seer, Artist, Author [ICELAND]
Terry Gunnell is a is Professor of Folkloristics at the University of Iceland. He is author of many leading books and a wide range of articles on Old Norse religion, Nordic folk belief and legend, folk drama and performance, and is behind the creation several surveys and databases on Folk Belief and culture, including the on-line Sagnagrunnur database of Icelandic folk legends. sagnagrunnur.com
Consultant, Professor of Folkloristics, University of Iceland [ICELAND]
Angelo is a cultural activist, scholar, filmmaker and currently a doctoral student in anthropology at New York University. He is the cultural resources coordinator at Utah Diné Bikéyah, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection of culturally significant ancestral lands, and has published a widely read op-ed in the New York Times. Shash Jaa’: Bears Ears is Angelo's latest award-winning film. His work reflects a long-standing dedication to both Western and Indigenous knowledge. shashjaa.wordpress.com
Producer, Writer, Activist
Bára is a legendary force in Icelandic folk music and song tradition, and is an accomplished composer, singer, and teacher. For Kvöldvaka, Bara performed an Icelandic song with handwritten lyrics, the DraumKvae∂i. This song is one that she learned as a child, and it has been passed down through her family to her.
Professional folk musician and artist Chris Foster is known for his interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs, and is featured playing traditional Icelandic instruments such as the langspil and fiðla in Kvöldvaka's soundscape. Chris also can be heard singing the DraumKvae∂i a cappella with Bára, taking the part of the chorus in this ancient song.
Fróði is a 900 year-old elf, and has been a friend of "Ragga"Jónsdóttir since childhood. He is excited to see Kvöldvaka being made, and considers Augmented Reality to be human magic, trying to do what elf magic has always done.
Which he finds quite funny.
Consultant, Huldufólk-Elf [ICELAND]
Álfagarðurinn ehf is an Icelandic organization whose mission is to spread the awareness of the interconnectedness between the natural world, humans and other Nature beings in a variety of ways which includes workshops, lectures, walks, writing books, making art and more. alfagardurinn.is
Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee has directed numerous award-winning films and is the founder and executive editor of media and distribution initiative Emergence Magazine, a Webby winning and National Magazine Award nominated publication that has produced Emmy and Peabody nominated films and media. emergencemagazine.org
Reconnecting Ecology, Culture, and Spirituality, Kalliopeia Foundation is responding to a global need that is emerging across cultures: to take responsibility for our common home. We envision a future that is built upon compassion, respect, dignity, reverence for nature, and care for each other and the Earth. Kalliopeia has supported several mixed reality projects, including Sanctuaries of Silence (NYFF, SXSW) and Breathe (Sundance). kalliopeia.org