Obsession Bird
ísl. Þráhyggjufugl
2019
Composition for solo flute

Obsessions are irrational thoughts, images, and impulses that a person feels as unrealistic, intrusive, and unwanted. The piece was inspired by and based on events described in Egils saga, especially Queen Gunnhildr's role.

In the Sagas of Icelanders Queen Gunnhildr is the wife of Eirík Bloodaxe, king of Norway and later York, and is depicted as a powerful and cruel figure, admired for her beauty and generosity, but feared for her magic, cunning and sexuality. Gunnhildr was the nemesis of Egill Skallagrímsson, and his saga and poetry present her in a particularly negative light. After a feud between the two, which ended with Egill killing Gunnhildr's 11 year old son, Gunnhildr became obsessed with killing Egill and cursed him. The curse drove Egill to sail to York, where the Eirík Bloodaxe and Gunnhildr were living in exile. When Egill's ship was shipwrecked on a nearby shore, Egill came before Eirík, who sentenced him to death. To escape the death sentence was allowed a single night to compose a tributary poem to Eirík. In order to stop Egill from saving his life, Gunnhildr shapeshifted into a swallow and distracted Egill from his writing by twittering constantly at the window to his room.

Obsession Bird was presented in August 2019 at "Í stíl við perósnuleika hins látna" as two artist books.

Þráhyggjufugl (2019) for flute, p. 1   Þráhyggjufugl (2019) for flute, p. 9   The system used to compose Þráhyggjufugl   First two verses of Head's Ransom in the system   Rhythm of Barn swallow twittering   Installation view from Í stíl við persónuleika hins látna   Didactic panel from "Í stíl við persónuleika hins látna"   "Í stíl við persónuleika hins látna", catalogue and installation photos by Margrét Aðalheiður Önnu Þorgeirsdóttir