Brit Artist Accuses Iceland Of Stealing Work For Tourism

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

British artist Marcus Lyall has accused Icelandic officials of stealing his idea with a campaign created for them by MC Saatchi offering the chance to record screams which are then broadcast into the Icelandic wilderness.

The “Let It Out” campaign, which launched in Iceland about a week ago, offers people from all around the world the opportunity to send a stress-relieving scream which would then be broadcast over one of the speaker boxes located in remote regions around the country.

The scream recordings can be sent into the project either using a mobile phone or a computer, according to Icelandic promotion authority Islandsstofa who said there were seven large speakers set up to play the screams.

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They said the idea was simply based on the commonly held psychological belief that screaming can help relieve stress.

The campaign is geared towards not only helping people relieve stress during the coronavirus pandemic but also promoting tourism in the region to potential visitors in the future.

It has already proved a little bit controversial among locals, but now Islandsstofa has ended up with a double headache after a British artist claimed that there “Let It Out” marketing campaign was his idea.

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British artist Marcus Lyall said that since 16th June his exhibition “Scream The House Down” has been operating in London, which invites people to “vocalise your inner frustrations and power a large-scale light installation.”

They can then use a zoom chat call to see how their screams are used to illuminate a four-storey office building.

Local Icelandic media report that he claims that despite the obvious differences, the basic idea is the same about getting people to shout and then playing it into a remote area to release tensions and feelings of frustration.

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For its part, Islandsstofa said that the idea from the project came from an external proposal first submitted to them on 30th April.

The statement read: “Islandsstofa received a presentation of the project Looks Like you Need Iceland from MC Saatchi and the advertising agency Peel as part of that tender on 6th May.”

It went on: “Part of that proposal was the Let it Out campaign, which involved making an app that would give people the opportunity to release stress by screaming into the app and getting a video of the scream played in Iceland.

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“MC Saatchi and Peel already presented a workable demo of the website used today, so it is clear that the idea had been worked on for some time before it was presented to Islandsstofa.”

They admit that there are similarities between the 2 projects but say the timeline does not support the artist’s claims, referring people to MC Saatchi for further enquiries.

Not content with the reply, Marcus Lyall is now reportedly demanding to know what they feel about allowing other people to steal an artist’s work, to which Islandsstofa said they have not yet had time to formulate a reply.

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