Inspiration for The North

The first stage of the creative process of The North involved an extensive period of research of written and visual information. The main threads that guided my exploration were ideas about the Northern landscape (the territory in itself as well as the animals, people and imaginary creatures that inhabit it), Nordic stories (mythology and legends from Scandinavia, Scotland, Canada…) and the aesthetic notion of The Sublime.

As the process developed, different members of the creative team (dancers, designers, etc.) contributed to the research, creating a pool of reference material that framed our work in and outside of the studio. Some of it had a strong, obvious influence in the way we shaped the work (the story, the tone, the characters…), others are just hidden layers that can be ‘felt’ rather than ‘seen’ in the final piece. As a choreographer, the challenge was to narrow down a wide subject like the North, and find my own interest. In the end, I feel that coming to terms with the uncertainty of the Northern environment became the main field of enquiry of the work.

Interestingly, almost everyone I met and talked about The North during the creation process had a new suggestion to add to the list. For me, this has led to some wonderful discoveries, like the poetry of Kenneth White or the quirky films of Roy Andersson, full of Scandinavian dark humour… Here is a list of all the wonderful material that we collected in the last two years, dive in and enjoy!’

Joan Clevillé


Primary sources

After Life, dir. Hirokazu Koreeda, 1998.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, dir. Roy Andersson, 2014.

Fargo, dir. Joel and & Ethan Coen, 1996.

Leviathan, dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014.

Nanook of the North, (documentary), dir. Robert J. Flaherty, 1928.

Of Horses and Men, dir. Benedikt Erlingsson, 2013.

Songs from the Second Floor, dir. Roy Andersson, 2000.

You, the Living, dir. Roy Andersson, 2007.


Secondary sources

Bienvenue chez les ch’tis, dir. By Dany Boon, 2009.

Cool & Crazy, dir. Knut Erik Jensen, 2001.

Force Majeure, dir. Ruben Östlund, 2015.

Los Amantes del Círculo Polar, dir. Julio Medem, 1998.

Northern Exposure, (TV series), created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, 1999.

The Dark Glow of the Mountains, dir. Werner Herzog, 1984.

The Revenant, dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2015.

THX 1138, directed by George Lucas, 1970.

Wild Strawberries, dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1957.



Primary Sources

Absjørnsen and Others (2010). Norwegian Folk Tales. Oslo: Font Forlag.

Davidson, Peter (2005). The Idea of North. London: Reaktion Books.

Johnston Phelps, Ethel (1981). The Maid of The North. Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Lopez, Barry (1986). Artic Dreams. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Orchard, Andy (Ed.) (2011). The Elder Edda. London: Penguin Books.

Pharo, Ingvild & Sagstad, Egil (2008). Norway – Nature Divine. Oslo: Avantart.

Shaw, Philip (2006). The Sublime. London: Routledge.

Shepherd, Nan (2011). The Living Mountain. Edinburgh: Canongate Books.

Tesson, Sylvain (2011). Consolations of the Forest. London: Penguin Books.

Various Authors (2004).  Swedish Folk Tales. Edinburgh: Floris Books.

Various Authors (2015).  The Magic North, Finnish and Norwegian Art Around 1900. Oslo: Norwegian National Museum.

White, Kenneth (1990). Handbook for the Diamond Country. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Company.

White, Kenneth (2004). Across the Territories. Edinburgh: Polygon Books.


Secondary Sources

Anonymous (1997). The Sagas of Icelanders. New York: Penguin.

Banks, Grace & Blackhall, Sheena (2013). Aberdeenshire Folk Tales. Stroud: The History Press.

Burke, Edmund (1990). A Philosophical Enquiry. Oxford University Press.

Don, Lari (2013). Winter’s Tales. London: A & C Black.

Harris, Joanne M. (2014). The Gospel of Loki. London: Gollancz.

Jansson, Tove (1972). The Summer Book. London: Sort of Books.

Morley, Simon (Ed.) (2010). The Sublime. London: Whitechapel Gallery.

Neumann, Anyssa (2011). Ideas of North: Glenn Gould and the Aesthetic of Sublime. voiceXchange 5(1) pp. 25-46.

Oslund, Karen (2011). Iceland Imagined. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Pye, Michael (2014). The Edge of the World. London: Penguin Books.

Shusterman, Richard (1999). Somaesthetics: A Disciplinary Proposal. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 57(3) pp. 299-313.

Sutherland, Luke (2004). Venus as a Boy. London: Bloomsbury.

Williamson, Duncan (2012). La Bruja del Mar y Otros Cuentos de Hojalateros Escoceses. Madrid: Calambur.


Visual Arts


Blomstedt, Väinö (1898), Sunset.

Duncan, John (1911), Riders of the Sidhe.

Gallen-Kallela, Akseli (1901), Lake View.

Gesicka, Dominika (2017), This is Not Real Life (photographic series).

Hanzlová, Jitka (2000-5), Forest (photographic series).

IC98, (1995-2008) Hours, Years, Aeons.

Kittelsen, Theodor (1903), It Snows, It Snows.

Kittelsen, Theodor (1905), What ever was that?

Kittelsen, Theodor (1887), The River Sprite.

Kjartansson, Ragmar (2016), Exhibition at the Barbican Centre (London).

Jorde, Lars (1903). Moonlight by Nordseter.

Newman, Barnett, zip paintings.

Rothko, Mark, multiform paintings.

Simberg, Hugo (1896). Fear in The Woods.

Simberg Hugo (1896). At the Crossroads.

Stjernschantz, Beda (1895-6), Irma.

Sohlberg, Harald (1914). Winter Night in the Mountains.

Turrel, James, light installations.