Haraldur Karlsson


Early Life and education

I was born in Reykjavík and grow upp close to one of Reykjavík’s junkjard that was an adventurous playground for us kids. From the age of 5 i sold newspapers in the streets and got paid in cinema tickets and when i was lucky i got inough coins to buy a lakris straw and a bottle of cocacola.

At the age of 8 i moved with my family to Denmark where my father studied in Copenhagen to become a dentist. I was a danish boy schout and a chess player. 3 years later we moved back to Reykjavik and from that time i worked every summer on a farm doing everything from milking kows to driwing tractors and riding horses. I remember the radio to have one program a week for young peoble and the national television having a hollyday for a month.

In the period 1983 - 1987 I sailed on container ship between Europe, north America and Iceland and with the Icelandic cost guard around Iceland, earning my ways to the Himalayas, Kashmir and Ladakh, and Africa’s Egypt. I graduated from the Icelandic Academy of Arts in 1991 and AKI media-art 1994 and finally Sonology at the Royal Conservatories Den Hague in 1997.


I worked for a couble of years as postcard designer while I produced an interactive multi disciplined realtime video concert between Reykjavik, Helsinki, Prague and Brussels with a big grant from European culture funds. Yes, after a half year of writing and re-writing i got a year salary and tecnical equipments.

in year 2000 the Icelandic Academy of the arts asked me to teach and run the Video studio for the fine art department. It was times of rabbit developments and in 2003 the Studio spaces merged with the Music department. At the same time i was very actively envolved in the icelandic new-media art scene.

In 2008 I moved to Oslo. There I have worked on several video-art commisions, done new-media consulancy for art institutions and individual artists, done a bit of teaching in private art schools and film schools like NISS and NOROF, one lecture at the art academy of Oslo. I have made video exhibitions in places like Kunstnerens Hus, Dansens Hus, Sound of Mu, Atopia, Stabekk Kino a.s.o.

Philosophy and philanthropy

Philosophy, science and art differ principally according to their subject-matter and also the means by which they reflect, transform and express it. In a certain sense, art, like philosophy, reflects reality in its relation to man, and depicts man, his spiritual world, and the relations between individuals in their interaction with the world.


We live not in a primevally pure world, but in a world that is known and has been transformed, a world where everything has, as it were, been given a "human angle", a world permeated with our attitudes towards it, our needs, ideas, aims, ideals, joys and sufferings, a world that is part of the vortex of our existence. If we were to remove this "human factor" from the world, its sometimes inexpressible, profoundly intimate relationship with man, we should be confronted by a desert of grey infinity, where everything was indifferent to everything else. Nature, considered in isolation from man, is for man simply nothing, an empty abstraction existing in the shadowy world of dehumanised thought. The whole infinite range of our relationships to the world stems from the sum-total of our interactions with it. We are able to consider our environment rationally through the gigantic historical prism of science, philosophy and art, which are capable of expressing life as a tempestuous flood of contradictions that come into being, develop, are resolved and negated in order to generate new contradictions.


Haraldur Karlsson (1967, Reykjavik, Iceland) holds a diploma in Mixed-Media from the Icelandic art school in Reykjavik and BA diploma in Media-Art from AKI Enchede, Holland. Further to this he studied Sonology over 3 years in the Royal Conservatorium Den Haag under the guidance of professor Clarence Barlow. For many years Karlsson worked at the Icelandic Academy of Arts as the head of Media-Lab, which he had designed. Karlsson has had exhibitions, performances and lectures in Iceland, Holland, Belgium, England, Czech Republic, Finland and Norway. He is currently based in Oslo and works on several video-art commissions.


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