The emergence of the tourist gaze was largely brought into being by the invention of the camera. The newly invented medium adopted the aesthetics of 19th Century approaches to landscape painting; an emphasis on the picturesque and the sublime, a tradition still today adhered to by tourists boards worldwide. The Icelandic tourist board is no exception!
Iceland is presented as 'out of the ordinary': a pure and untouched terrain sculpted over the aeons by natural forces and illuminated by fantastical light displays.
Útlendingur provides a critique of this idealised version of Iceland from the point of view of an outsider. It focuses on the sights of the everyday and seeks to capture the ordinary events within the landscape that don't conform to the mythic narrative. The result is a playful and affectionate subversion of familiar motifs and an alternative representation of Iceland which goes beyond the clichéd images often used as promotional material in tourist brochures and in the mainstream media.