Photography by Jeaneen Lund
Before leaving for Iceland, loved ones warned us about the seismic activity surrounding Bárðarbunga, the country’s largest volcanic system, which indeed blew its top before we went to press (we’re fine). But Bárðarbunga has nothing on Kitty Von-Sometime, a British-born, Icelandic-based performance artist whose personality is as eruptive as her work. Kitty arrives at Out’s Reykjavík September soiree ready to party and emote. She’s dressed all in black and sporting a jagged riff on a pixie cut, and in between swigs of beer and sailor-like obscenities, she spills her guts about the deeply personal "Opus/You Again", an art film she’s just wrapped in collaboration with the Icelandic band Árstíðir.
“It was like standing on a cliff looking very, very far down,” Kitty says of making the video, and she isn’t talking about whatever precipices the crew encountered when shooting on Iceland’s Langjökull glacier. Featuring Kitty in a bodice and headpiece crafted with krona coins, and a 160-kilo ice sculpture with a lamb’s heart frozen inside, "Opus/You Again" is a lovesick valentine to Kitty’s wife, who left her months prior, but returned after seeing the film. “We still have a lot to cover together,” Kitty says. “But this piece expressed to her everything I wanted to, and for that it’s more powerful than anything I’ve made.”
Though closer to her heart, "Opus/You Again" is a poignant reflection of Kitty’s body of work, which empowers women to make bold moves and statements in their lives. The pale-skinned brunette is a producer, director, DJ, and avid gardener (“I grow over 90 types of vegetables and fruit, and I’m obsessed,” she says), but the creation that’s flourished most is The Weird Girls Project, an ongoing, visually arresting Web series in which women become parts of living installations—many shot in Iceland’s wilderness. Participants never know what they’re in for, but the series’ notoriety has increasingly attracted volunteers, who are drawn to the videos’ painterly, cathartic vibe of sisterhood.
“Each woman explains why she needs this experience,” Kitty says, “And I try to push that into the piece itself.”
Kitty’s also a mother of one, her child fathered by her ex, Daníel Haraldsson, lead singer of
Iceland’s own GusGus. Candid as ever, she regards her “omnisexuality” in the same manner as she does everything else: with eloquence and fire. “From the first awakening of my libido, I was aware of this part of me,” she says. “My first sexual experiences were with a girl, my first long-term relationship with a boy. Encompassed in all of this is a need to have respect even with casual partners, and a refusal to fuck anyone unless I know they are aware of these rules. I have a medically high drive, but a stunningly faithful nature.”