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Step for a moment into the year 2179. A Vogue magazine has just released a new collector’s edition on Iceland Rewilded. Within its pages - from editorial to advertisement - a story unfolds.


This speculative design project aims to capture the surreal fusion of a country’s rewilded landscapes and the unsettling embrace of a dystopian future.


The visually stunning images of a reimagined Iceland are meant to, at first, distract you….but if you look closely, you will slowly begin to see signs that things may not be what they seem. This imagined future shows how Iceland has become an island paradoxically caught between enchantment and artificiality. Traditional landscapes become stages, and ancient practices transform into scripted performances for tourists seeking refuge in a simulated past.

The faux products and hyperbolic tourist items, meticulously designed and captured in the lens, serve as both art and critique. They beckon readers to question the fine line between spectacle and authenticity, highlighting the eerie dance between the genuine and the illusory.


Beneath the glossy surface lies a deeper message—a reflection on the implications of our collective yearning for (re-)enchantment. Through subtle details and hidden nuances, "The Shadow Beneath the Seals" challenges assumptions about progress, nature, food production, and the commodification of nostalgia.


This speculative journey invites audiences to ponder the imagined futures it unveils and question the role of aesthetics in shaping our perceptions. In a world draped in allure and disquiet, "The Shadows Beneath the Seals" hopefully leaves you with more questions than answers.

Story, Writing, Art Direction & Graphic Design: Kate Scott Stewart
TOOLS: Midjourney, Canva, ChatGPT, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop

Part of Krónan Grandi's "Fruitful Futures" exhibition


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The world has diverged; fractured into a stark dichotomy between the past and the future, between the rewilded and the re-engineered.

Iceland stands as an enigma.


Iceland, having undergone a rewilding, clings to the threads of a time when the land provided, and humans, in turn, gave back in gratitude. In this idyllic facade, food is not just sustenance; it is a sacred covenant with nature itself. The Landvættir Upskeru seal, a symbol of this profound connection, adorns almost every product.


Yet, beneath the surface of this seal, there are shadows.

Outside this isolated island, the world churns in laboratories, a symphony of stainless steel and sterile environments. Meat, bereft of a living soul, is birthed in glass chambers. Fruits and vegetables emerge from towering hydro-farms, devoid of soil, sunlight, or the caress of a natural breeze.


The bond between humanity and nature has shifted, becoming one of simple sterile efficiency. People watch screens, press buttons, and receive neatly packaged sustenance, devoid of any connection to the earth that bore it. The harmonious dance between humans and nature has been reduced to a mere memory.

And so, Iceland has become a relic, a living museum, a Disneyland for the disillusioned, for those who yearn for a taste of the past. Tourists flock in even higher numbers than in the 21st century, desperate for a glimpse into a world they can barely comprehend. They can put on the “costumes” of harvesters and farmers, play at the gathering of eggs and mushrooms, and sing commercialized folk incantations into the sea, believing they can capture the essence of a bygone era.

Krónan, once a humble grocery store, has evolved into a fusion of commerce and spectacle. Its mossy rock walls whisper secrets of ancient lands, its shelves hold products adorned with the coveted Landvættir Upskeru seal. Tourists gather here, drawn by the allure of such rewilded sustenance. The aisles are corridors of nostalgia, a walk back in time.

Outside of the stores and homes in Iceland, rides have been constructed, offering tourists a semblance of an adventure, a glimpse into the untamed beauty of Iceland. They soar above waterfalls, watch in awe as glaciers glisten in the sun, and smile at the humble cow farmer in his specialized haycoat bringing in his herd…all from the safety of mechanized platforms and trolleys. The thirst for the perfect Instagram photo has been quenched this way, without the risk of peril, and the visitors who want to “experience” rewilding without getting dirty may do so this way.

Yet, even within this illusion of rewilding, a dichotomy emerges. The seal, once a symbol of care and respect for nature, dances on products that are but replicas of a reality long past. The true essence of rewilding, the genuine connection between people and the land, has been overtaken by the clamor of commerce and the pursuit of nostalgia the visiting tourists so desperately demand.

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