Freya Björg Olafson

Freya Bjorg Olafson
Freya Björg Olafson

BA (School of Contemporary Dancers/University of Winnipeg)
MFA New Media (Transart Institute, Donau Universität, Austria)

Assistant Professor
Department of Dance

Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with performance, video, audio and painting. Her creative practice engages with identity and the body, as informed by technology and the Internet.

Olafson’s work has been presented internationally at venues such as the Bauhaus Archiv (Berlin/Germany), SECCA – Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (North Carolina), Ochoymedio (Quito, Guayaquil and Manta/ Ecuador), Canada’s National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens/Greece). Her video work has screened widely in festivals and galleries, and is distributed by Video Pool Media Arts Centre, Winnipeg. Her artist residencies include EMPAC – The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (New York), Oboro (Montreal) and Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida). With support from San Francisco’s CounterPulse , she is currently developing a project incorporating virtual reality, slated to premiere in 2018.

Alongside her university studies, Olafson advanced her training with the Professional Program of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Springboard Danse Montréal.  Leading artists with whom she has studied and collaborated include Charles Atlas, Coco Fusco, Tedd Robinson, Shawna Dempsey/Lorri Millan, Wanda Koop and Sarah Anne Johnson, among others. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, her honours include the Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation at Toronto’s SummerWorks festival. Her work CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] was selected by an international jury to be part of Team Canada at Les Jeux de la Francophonie in Côte d’Ivoire, Africa in July 2017.

As a freelance performer Olafson has worked in dance, film and theater. Teaching, lecturing, and mentoring highlights include her work with Saw Video (Ottawa), Syracuse University (NY), and MAWA – Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and Plug In ICA (Winnipeg). Upcoming publications include a score/script of her performance work AVATAR as part of Canadian Playwrights Press’ 2021 anthology on Digital Theatre in Canada.

Olafson has served on the curatorial committee for the núna (now) festival since 2006 and as president since 2010, overseeing and facilitating projects in dance, theatre, visual and public art. Since 2012, she has also served on the board of the Video Pool Media Arts Centre, and from 2013 to 2016 was a member of ISPA – International Society for Performing Arts through the Canada Council Legacy Program. She is currently a member of Projetbk/8 DAYS and a research collaborator with the Canadian Consortium for Performance and Politics in the Americas.

Professor Olafson joined the faculty in the Department of Dance at York University in 2017.