icelandic volcano toronto

You can now feel what it's like to step inside a huge Icelandic volcano in Toronto

Iceland is known for its beautiful volcanoes, which on average erupt once every five years. If you've ever wanted to explore one of these natural wonders but don't want to travel to Europe, you can step inside a huge Icelandic volcano at Toronto's newest art installation.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has a new, unique multisensory experience that lets you step inside a volcano with an accompaniment of original music by Jónsi, lead singer of Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

Jónsi: Hrafntinna (Obsidian) lets visitors step inside a room filled with sound, scents and lighting to recreate the huge eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano back in 2021.

You'll be able to sit on a bench in a dark room, surrounded by 195 speakers, and be transported to the erupted volcanoes by both sound and smell.

Soundscapes use Jónsi's voice, machinery sounds and the distinctive noises of flowing lava and crushing rocks. 

The scent of fossilized amber will fill your nostrils as flashes of light and darkness dance overhead, ending in complete silence, similiar to the end of a volcanic explosion. 

This piece is the first by Jónsi to be acquired by a public museum internationally  — a huge accomplishment for the AGO. 

Inspiration for the artwork took place during the beginning of 2021. Jónsi was unable to witness the erruption in person at the time, so he recreated it by overcoming "geographical limitations."

"Despite their invisibility, scent and music have so much capacity to make us feel," he said of the work. "They engage us physically, trigger us physically, while simultaneously allowing our minds to wander—through memory, across landscapes—which is really therapeutic."

Catch Jónsi: Hrafntinna (Obsidian) at the AGO on July 23. 

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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You can now feel what it's like to step inside a huge Icelandic volcano in Toronto