In Contact: Ingvild Syntropia (fka. Deila)

As a philosopher artist, primarily expressed through acting, singing and writing, the past months have had practical, artistic and existential ramifications on my practice and thinking.

 The loss of tactility towards my family who lives in Norway, was a stark reminder of how I, and countless others, had taken the marvel of aviation for granted, and simultaneously warming up to slow and low-emission travelling to cool the planet. It made for a profound  kind of longing to the moment I could hug my family again. It was inspiring to see the ways I and many others tried to surrogate the feeling of physical togetherness and how that might continue in the future as the world becomes more virtual. 

The loss of freedom of movement also made me more focused on collaborating with artists and thinkers online. This turned out to be one of the surprising benefits of the lockdown, that I formed bonds with people far away that I never would have worked with otherwise. I have recorded vocals that have been mixed in the UK, written articles that are peer edited in Belize and Pakistan, and begun creating social media content for animal welfare organisations in the US.

I have felt the truth of the adage that ‘you do not know what you have until you lose it’. To be a human, or any kind of being, is to be vulnerable. This has always been our predicament, with or without a pandemic. However, the wafer thin layer we collectively create, through our culture, cities, laws, politics, food systems, work, identity and everyday habits, blinds us from the stark reality that we are interlinked with everyone and everything in ways perhaps not even advanced a.i. could fathom anytime soon. My feeling of control is an illusion.

The crippling fear of not knowing when your loved ones will die, that I might lose the ability to pursue the causes I feel most ardently about, that my philosophical and artistic endeavours might not make much of a positive difference in the world. Yet, in parallel there is a peace that comes with acknowledging a form of determinism. I can’t even predict the next thought that surfaces to my conscious mind. I can try to uphold the illusion that I do have control, or I can let go and instead be a keen observer of how consciousness unfolds in me and in all the forms of life around me. I can decide to be present in my life, my thoughts and in my art. 

This very unusual start of a new decade has made it very clear to me that much of our core physical and mental systems, like politics, economics, food production and the current dominant ideology of neoliberalism, is in critical need of positive change. My practice already focused on engaging with these interconnected themes, but the recent events made me more bold and resolute in living, creating and thinking consciously and compassionately and to use my artistic and philosophical practice to expand our circle of empathy, towards future generations, and towards the fellow creatures that we share this terrifyingly beautiful world with.

Ingvild Syntropia (fka. Deila) is a Norwegian actress, singer, writer, visual artist and former NGO worker exploring the interdisciplinary space of philosophy, art activism, ecojustice and ecopsychology.

 She studied fine arts at KiB, Norway, followed by an BA in Philosophy and the History of Ideas from Bergen University, Norway and Southampton University, UK, and an MA in Media for International Development and Social Change from Sussex University. She has been a freelance artist since 2014, living and working in the UK, France, Switzerland, Brazil and now the Netherlands. She is most known for her role as Princess Leia in Rogue One and a small appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but primarily stars in international and independent films such as Escape from Brazil (Brazil/Netherlands 2019), Baumbacher Syndrome (Germany,2019) and Hippopotamus (UK, 2018). She often collaborates with her filmmaker partner Bruno Decc, is a vocalist in the UK art collective band Necessary Animals and writes for International Times and Sentient Media.