Pole to pole: making art in the Antarctic and the Arctic

The artist Neville Gabie is currently in the Anarctic with the British Antarctic Survey as artist-in-residence at the Halley Reseach station on the Brunt ice shelf. He’ll be there for four months and each week he’s recording a video blog of his life there, One Minute Week.

Temperatures there on a typical summer day – and it is summer right now – are abalmy -10 degrees. Much of the BAS’s scientific work involves trying to figure out how the Antarctic works as a regulator of global climate. As the ice freezes during an Antarctic winter, vast amounts of denser salty water “rejected” by the ice  drift to the bottom of the oceans. This movement helps create the ocean currents that carry heat around the globe. The BAS also assess whether man-made climate change is having a direct impact there. The BAS’s measured views on that are here.

Anyway, this is Neville’s latest posting:

Getting ready for station-Z [Halley] from Ali Roche on Vimeo.

Neville’s artwork is based around the idea of flying kites in the Antarctic. “Flying kites in the Antarctic,” he says, “even in the summer months, is the antithesis of our expectations. Not only are the weather and wind conditions hostile, but the very idea of ‘recreation’ in the Antarctic seems contrary to the seriousness of the work undertaken there.”

I’ve just posted a video interview with RIBA President Sunand Prasad on the main website. Where Neville is planning to fly kites in the Antarctic, Sunand attempted to fly balloons in the Arctic, the other end of the earth, during last year’s Cape Farewell expedition. His description of trying to launch balloons in the wild, harsh katabatic Arctic winds suggests that Neville’s enterprise isn’t going to be a summer picnic.


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