FUNDED! This project was successfully funded on 25 August, 2012. Find other projects
From Here To There: The Arctic
- Visual Arts
I have been invited on the research opportunity of a lifetime – an artist and scientist-led collaborative expedition to the high arctic – and I need your financial support to make this a reality. In October 2012, on the eve of the Polar night, we will sail the waters of the Svalbard archipelago, residing at 80 degrees north. My goal for this residency is to push the direction in my work by focusing on the extreme subtleties of a grand frozen desert devoid of any obvious movement or detail. This will be realized via a series of planned and spontaneous projects employing photography, video and Morse code. I will also have take advantage of working next to scientists, learning new methods to conduct research, and accumulating material and data for a series of sculptures and installations to be created upon my return.
Growing up in some very remote areas of Canada I was exposed to thick colorful forests teaming with life and six feet of snow in the winter. When I reached high school, my family moved us to the Pacific Northwest where I developed a deeper appreciation for the natural environment. During college wanderlust and curiosity took me cross-country several times by car through the American southwest – I was instantly captivated by the honesty and solitude of the desert. This was an environment that felt foreign yet somehow familiar to me. The vast emptiness of the desert deeply affected my perception of light and scale. The blood-red sunsets punctuated by dust clouds kicked up by gusting winds appeared miniature in a landscape that stretched for hundreds of unobstructed miles. The desert made me feel insignificant and much of what I experienced here would later resurface in my work as abstracted forms. When I heard about The Arctic Circle program, I dropped everything I was working on to get on board. The arctic struck me as another kind of desert that combined something familiar with a completely foreign and hostile environment. This is a place where my work can evolve.
While my current work is inspired by experienceing place it often takes the form of combining physical objects with light. I treat light as a “material” that can be used to occupy space with virtually nothing. Because light lacks any tangible properties it relies on the presence of shadow – light playing against darkness – to make its presence known. Until now light has played a mostly aesthetic and supporting role in my work due to lacking the physicality of conventional materials such as wood, or steel. This expedition is an opportunity to employ light as a discreet, physical “material,” while freeing it from aesthetic responsibility.
The arctic is the logical place for this research to take place; its frozen silence is broken only by the amount and quality of light present. With the Aurora Borealis caused by the violent collision of charged particles in the atmosphere and the Polar night which lasts for more than 24 hours each day during the winter months, the arctic possesses the “material” I need to realize the potential of light in my work. Though I have planned a series of projects, their execution is subject to change in relation to my presence and experience. Among these projects is to document the passing of time by documenting the quality of light on the eve of the Polar night every hour for 24 hours. I expect that the captured images will reveal very delicate changes in texture, shade and hue while revealing only very slight color changes between frames. Adjacent to this project is a series of video “portraits” based on the idea that movement seen in our immediate environment is a result of the wind blowing branches, dust, trash and other debris in the landscape. With the absence of these elements in the arctic, I am curious as to the level of movement that can be detected visually. These “portraits” will aim to reveal the featurelessness of the arctic while drawing attention to the isolation and relative absence of movement in the landscape. I imagine these video portraits will appear almost as still photographs when presented, revealing very little, if any, movement while also recording the passing of time. Light is also used in some cases to communicate in short flashing bursts. I want to experiment with the idea of communicating visually and silently across long distances with the use of Morse code transmitted via signal lamp.
This expedition is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate with artists and scientists and push the boundaries of my work in a unique environment. With great opportunity comes great responsibility and, of course, great expense. I hope that you recognize the value of this research residency, the impact it will have on my work, and are compelled to be a part of it. In return for your support, I have established a series of perks, some of which represent actual research objects that will ultimately be incorporated into an exhibition.
I thank you in advance for your interest in my project and look forward to carrying out this mission with your financial support.
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