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MÆ - Motion Aftereffect

60mins - Nov 2019

'MÆ - Motion Aftereffect' addresses the impact of emerging technologies associated with AR - Augmented Reality, VR - Virtual Reality, MR - Mixed Reality, XR - Extended Reality and 360° video available to consumers. ‘MÆ‘ is a digital collage of content from the Internet: open source motion capture libraries, ready-made 3D human models and monologues of individuals recounting their experiences with VR in live gameplay, explorative worlds, VR porn. In the closing scene / duet (excerpt 1), the webcamera feed from above is manipulated through a game development software called ‘Unity’ to create an effect that freezes video frames and continuously prints new moving frames atop the previous, thereby creating live painting trails from our movement onstage. This visual effect is a reference to the early 2000s visual aesthetic of Brody Condon’s video game work ‘Adam Killer’ (1999) and a common Windows XP (2001 – 2008) system error that would generate the same painting effect using your computer’s search windows and cursors as paintbrush. The formal composition of 'MÆ' closing scene / duet references the primary colored shapes that became a signature of the Bauhaus Movement in Germany as well as the work of Bauhaus associated artist Oskar Schlemmer, who augmented and extended the human form through sculptural costumes and formal choreographic explorations of ‘space’ and ‘time’. Within 'MÆ - Motion Aftereffect' there are text references to the Fluxus movement - ‘Lettuce Manifesto’ (created by Al Hansen in 1970), the Bauhaus School (László Moholy-Nagy's idea of the ‘Theater of Totality’ as well as Oskar Schlemmer as noted above) as well as Manifest.AR collective’s 2011 Manifesto for Augmented Reality as interventionist art; all distinct artist movements / collectives that proposed visionary ideas and manifestos for transformation and consideration of art and the public. 'MÆ-Motion Aftereffect' concludes with an overlay of the Windows XP 2000s ‘Solitaire’ computer game ending which visualizes each stack of cards falling to the bottom of the screen - creating the same digital painting trails before sliding off screen. more info

Performance, Unity & Video: Freya Björg Olafson

Co-presence: Lise McMillan

Sound: Emma Hendrix

Excerpt #1 - Live Painting:

view from 57mins to 1h03m3s (total 6mins30s)

Excerpt #2 - VR scene

view from 50mins to 53ms (3mins)

Note: In April 2020 I will do a video shoot of excerpt #1 (the painting scene of 'MAE') as a single channel video for dissemination with galleries, media art and experimental cinema festivals without the live performance component.

Upcoming Dates

'ISEA - International Symposium on Electronic Art'

as part of 'Sensorium' York University

venue at UQAM in Montréal


Prairie Theatre Exchange 'Leap Series'

October 30th - November 3rd, 2019


CounterPulse - Combustible: ARC - Artist in Residence Commissioning Program

San Francisco, California 

September 6 - 17th, 2017

30 minutes

Video Pool Media Art Centre  

as part of survey exhibition 'Isolated Landscapes' curated by Kathy Rae Huffman 

Winnipeg, Manitoba

November 2017 

excerpts 20 minutes

‘Painting with the Man’ was developed through the use of a camera-less motion capture suit worn by Freya Olafson. The work references Yves Klien’s Anthropométries 1960 series; wherein Klein engaged nude women as 'human paint brushes'. Dressed in bow-tie and suit Klein would conduct the women as they covered themselves (in his patented color ‘International Klein Blue’) and made imprints of their bodies on canvas. In ‘Painting with the Man’ Olafson uses a digital readymade generic male 3D body to imprint the canvas / screen. This work has been shown in thirteen cities internationally since 2017.  more info

PAinting With the Man

part of the MAE- Motion Aftereffect series    

Video | Motion Capture | Performance:
Freya Björg Olafson

Music: "It Girl" Mister Wallace

HD video | 3m37s

SUGGESTED VIEWING from 0mins to 2mins

Installation or screening




Technical Description: In this work I applied motion capture data recorded from my movement using the 'Perception Neuron' suit and used their related software. I applied the mocap data in the 'Unity' game development software to a readymade free 3D avatar. A glitch happened when I would play the game / mocap data back and a trail painting effect occurred. Anytime I moved the VR headset the trail painting happened. I set up to record my computer screen in order to create this video work. The avatars occasionally spin on the spot which highlights the 3D dimensionality of the models. The spins happens when I activated a C# code for rotation. 

'Brief Encounters & Sustained Engagement' is part of Freya’s AVATAR series (2009-2011) exploring methods of creating, validating and disseminating one’s identity through the use of technology and the Internet. The series is inspired by the mantra “I post therefore I am”, whereby Internet users legitimize their existence by documenting their lives and uploading this media to personal webpages and blogs. The work in this series facilitates an inquiry into our desire to share and publicize our lives.

“Using a palette of gestures gleaned from online fetish videos, media artist/dancer Freya Olafson addresses the dual nature of sexual performance — both alluring and repellent. The seductive quality of Olafson’s stroking, gyrating and posing is undone by her use of a distorting fish-eye lens of her web cam. A necessary supplement to her performance are the live reactions of a Chat Roulette audience, which doesn’t seem to understand that her performance mimics not genuine seduction but the dried-out ritual that unfolds in strip clubs and the like on a nightly basis.”

Sandee Moore (Uptown Magazine)

This work is an extension of my video work: A/S/L (age/sex/location)

Brief Encounters &

Sustained Engagement

Audio, video, performance: Freya Björg Olafson


Gallery Installation: 16mins Played on a laptop placed on a plinth, under a plexiglass box

SUGGESTED VIEWING from 0mins to 2m55s

Format available: Digital file - DVD (NTSC or PAL)


January 2010

Technical Description: Through the manycam app I was able to override the Chatroulette platform and run a pre-recoded video to interact with viewers on the website. This video is a document of my engagements as I researched Chatroulette. Each time the video says  -disconnected - it is the viewer who chose to exit viewing my video. In 2010 I performed this work live on Chatroulette at Platform Center for Photographic & Digital Arts with a live audience present. Curator J.J. Kegan McFadden oversaw the online interactions by operating the keyboard and mouse ie: skipping viewers as I performed as part of  the exhibition 'Ritualiz’d '


AVATAR is inspired by the mantra, “I post, therefore I am,” referencing the way Internet users legitimize their existence by documenting their lives and uploading the data to personal webpages and blogs. In a striking audio/video/dance performance, Olafson's moves intimately through software, opening files on her personal computer and interacting with a built-in camera to explore methods of creating, validating, and disseminating one’s identity through the use of technology and the Internet. The performance inherently becomes a duet with technology as the artist makes use of live video feeds and projections to magnify, manipulate, and effectively broadcast persona and image. This series is based around the 60 minute performance but has numerous video works and drawings as extensions of the project. more info

Technical Description: this work was developed with both a live web camera feed as well as an external camera both run through the ‘Quartz Composer’ software, later updated to run on ‘Isadora’. 

AVATAR Premiere in 2009 - toured until 2015

Performance / Audio / Video / Quartz Composer:

Freya Björg Olafson


WATCH full length of video on the left

Note: Video to the left is 3minutes of excerpts from the 60 minute performance which has taken place in both

blackbox theatres and gallery spaces. In 2021 AVATAR 

will be published as a score / script as part of an anthology on digital theatre in Canada by Canadian Playwrights Press.

CVS [Computer Vision Syndrome]

Video below: This video below is a part of the live performance, it has also screened at various cinema festivals, as well as been installed in galleries - usually running in a loop on a laptop.

additional / extra - VIEWING - 3mins to end

CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) layers composited screen captures of rapid web searches, desktop strippers and amorphous dancers aiming to draw the viewer into the screen. more info

Above / Beyond / Outside
Play Video

Layered and colorful, almost as though animated, the body becomes a dreamscape in ‘Above | Beyond | Outside’. The video deploys an intriguing combination of SPF 60 sunscreen, clear UV reactive body paint, UV lights and strobe to reduce the dimensionality of the physical body to line. Olafson's physique is dissected and transformed, disappearing and merging with the screen. The live performance (video excerpts on the right) integrates Chromadepth 3D glasses for the audience, which isolate color fields - blue in background, yellow in mid ground and red comes forward in space to create a false sense of depth. more info on HYPER_ series

Recently written about in ARCHÉE - Arts Médiatiques & Cyberculture

“Not a Girl Dancing”: Gender, Spectacle and Disembodiment in the work of Loïe Fuller and Freya Olafson"

by Hilary Bergen - link

Above / Beyond / outside 

part of the HYPER_ series    

Video | Performance | Paint: Freya Olafson

Music: Davíð Þór Jónsson 

HD video | 3m30s


Installation or screening ( (Ideal installation is with three layers of black sharkstooth scrim hung about a foot away from each other off the wall, this produces a corps de ballet of floating figures, which get larger towards the back scrim / wall surface).



optional viewing - This video work is also part of a 60 minute performance called 'HYPER_' (2013); the video below shows 3mins of excerpts from the live work which needed a black box space for UV light control.  password: excerpts

Additional works - optional viewing 

Text provided by Will Pappenheimer:

Angsty Pool liquefies Michael Rees’ large abstract black and white crosshatched wall image into a rippling pool. Moving throughout the shallow water are five duplicate male base game characters in underwear, who perform motions of cleansing, lounging and occasionally looking out at the audience. Their movements are guided by a process of motion capture previously enacted physically by my collaborator, Freya Björg Olafson. As suggested by the title, the turbulence across the underlying image as well as the churning motions of the characters evoke conditions of anxiety even in the midst of the relaxing act of swimming. These conditions are meant to relate to troubling issues of identity circulating through contemporary culture, at the same time as the the desire to wash them away.


Collaboration with Will Pappenheimer

in response to Michael Rees’

Exhibited at Grounds for Sculpture,