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Futura Resistenza

Gunnar Gunnsteinsson - A Janitor's Manifesto

Gunnar Gunnsteinsson - A Janitor's Manifesto

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Gunnar Gunnsteinsson is an artist and composer, living and working in Reykjavik. His work includes (sound) installations, film scoring and musical education. A Janitor's Manifesto, Gunnar's second studio album, musically describes and fictionally revises a real time in Gunnar's life when, next to his composition work, he was employed part-time as a janitor within de LELY - home of de Appel - a communal, artist's housing complex - alsoin which he also lived. The album was recorded and produced in Amsterdam and Reykjavik between 2017 and 2021.

A building at night
or, on a rainy, grey afternoon.
A yawning dawning; lonely morning.

Footsteps haunt the halls — a solitary, walking percussionist, playing to no-one in the askant, blue flickering light of TVs and laptops streaming . . . whatever.

If ever there was an of-this-time hermitic archetype, the Janitor is surely it.

Amongst people but alone, caring for space that no one else cares for — or that no one else has to. The role conceived so that no one else should have to assume it. What necessity? What invention? I ask (already knowing the answer).

The Janitor knows each corner — memorizes the nooks and crannies; the shapes of pipes; the location of light switches; the lock for every key. Jangle jangle jangle. The particular tone of these florescent lights — that gets the mind humming . . . And, in the absurd repetition of basal manual labour, the mind goes wandering. The space of reminiscence. The space of longing-for. You remember right?

To move

A Janitor’s non-didactic manifesto
declaring . . . what?

Just everything.

The mind whirls.

Beauty collides with loneliness and careens — SMACK! — into banality. The heart lurches (why am I reminded of heart-break? I ask (already knowing the answer)). The jaw drops. ABBA in the supermarket! Before birth. That poor seagull. Slippery dreams and swirling cascades of memories — FLUSH! along the pipes and ventilation systems of the building — the body, the being of The Janitor.

And if The Janitor is also an exceptional poet, an exceptional artist? Well now . . . we don’t have to speculate. It is so.

As all exceptional artists must, Gunnar Gunnsteinsson lays down tremendous truths — magnificent and startling — in a kind of complex musicality I am unable to properly relay.

I’m not sure the world is ready for this

this glorious pain

But, amen, let it come.

(I believe in a better world; I really really really really do. . .)

— Katrina Niebergal, Rotterdam, January 2023


Released April 3, 2023

Recorded and produced in Amsterdam and Reykjavík in the years 2017 – 2021
Words and music by Gunnar Gunnsteinsson
Lyrics in Á speed dial written in collaboration with Annahita Asgari
Co-production and mixing by Juho Nurmela
Mastering by Pauli Saastamoinen
Photography by Bergur Anderson and Katrina Niebergal, featuring artwork by Katrina Niebergal
Cover design by Koos Siep and GnaxType

Futura Resistenza
Brussels/Rotterdam, 2023
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