I am honored to be selected by The Arctic Circle 2012 to join a group of eighteen artists and scientists aboard a 150-foot tall ship in the Arctic Ocean which will explore the north and west coasts of Svalbard, a mountainous archipelago just ten degrees from the North Pole, for a period of about two weeks in the fall. During this time I will continue working on something I call the Arctic Circle Project.
Credit: The Arctic Circle
As I explain on my website and in my Kickstarter video above, the Project started with my first trip to the Swedish Arctic in February 2009 where I reinterpreted conceptual pieces by Lawrence Weiner, Harry Savage and Iain and Ingrid Baxter of N.E. Thing Company. These artists had organized an expedition to Inuvik, NT in 1969 to make work for an Edmonton Art Gallery show organized by Bill Kirby. They were accompanied by Kirby, Virgil Hammock and Lucy Lippard. Lippard recorded the details of the trip and published the document as “Art Within the Arctic Circle” in The Hudson Review (Vol. 22, No. 4) Winter 1969-1970. I came across the article before I arrived in Sweden to begin a fellowship at Umeå University. In the course of carrying out my reinterpretations in Jokkmokk, Jukkasjärvi and Årrenjarka, I wanted to use the 1969 work as a template to consider the significance of the artwork and the gendered body of the artist in the far north – and perhaps in the process alter the original intention of the pieces.
I undertook the second phase of the project at A.I.R. Bergen in Norway during the winter of 2011. While still inspired by the 1969 pieces, this phase takes into consideration romantic and transcendentalist notions of nature as well as the history of exploration to the Canadian and Scandinavian north/s. It includes video, drawings, altered images and text. The textual pieces are a mash-up of letters between Lippard and me on the subject of her 1969 Arctic trip, sections of The Hudson Review article, passages from the best-selling novel, The Sheik (1921), by E.M. Hull, a British author famous for her “desert-romances,” historical records of early Arctic exploration, and my own writing.
The Project has since become part of a broader collection of work that explores the collective imaginary of and our conflicted relationship with nature as well as the human longing for travel, journeys and exploration and its inevitable pitfalls. This collection of work was recently exhibited at Galerie les Territoires in Montreal in the fall of 2011. It was called “Terra Incognita: Stories of Imaginary Places.” I am excited to take part in The Arctic Circle 2012 in order to continue my work on this collection of projects. Mediums I plan to use during the residency include photography, video, drawing and text (writing).
While The Arctic Circle 2012 contributes half the total cost of my participation I am expected raise the other half in order to go. The amount I am requesting on Kickstarter covers most of this expense. In exchange for donations, I am offering images from the Project as a “thank you.” You can see some of these images in the above video and embedded here. Any donation great or small is much appreciated! Thank you!
To read more about The Arctic Circle residency, see this article in The New York Times.
- (40 days)