School of Music

Lusus naturae: Art Exhibit with Live Music Performance and Closing Reception

March 12, 2020
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Art Gallery, Gorham Campus
Free and open to the public
Lusus naturae

January 30-March 12, 2020

A large-scale animated video and sound installation by Ólöf Nordal, Gunnar Karlsson and the composer Þuríður Jónsdótti. 

USM Art Gallery, Gorham


Thursday, March 12, 6-8 pm. 

Closing reception: Live performance in the gallery by USM School of Music students at 6:15 followed by a brief Q&A with Artist-in-Residence Ólöf Nordal.

This video and music collaboration was performed at the Hafnarborg Centre of Culture and Art, Iceland, 2014. Lusus naturae is a Latin concept; lusus means ‘joke’ and therefore lusus naturae is a joke of nature, when nature shows its playful side. Lusus naturae presents a dreamlike vision of the deep seas. It tells the story of the circle of life: the birth of fictional beings, their existence, death, and rebirth. Are they prototypes of life or visions of an inescapable future?

The creatures remind us of the grotesque, a term originally used for vivid Roman murals with monsters and beings such as centaurs and satyrs. Presently, the term rather refers to bad taste, ugliness, disgust or excess, evoking the discomfort we experience when the laws of nature are broken. The creatures in Lusus naturae lead us into grotesque territory, evoking feelings of discomfort, pity, and unexpected empathy. The shape and construction of the creatures, which are both familiar and strange to us, are puzzling as they comprise different aspects such as humour, horror, and beauty.

Organized by the Departments of Art and Theatre, and the School of Music. Sponsored by the CAHS Dean's Cultural Affairs Fund and USM Student Life.

Free and open to the public

Contact Information

USM Music Box Office