I found this misshapen metal ring on a Ross Island hike. I’m guessing it’s a can rim detached from lid and body. Its distressed, weathered, delicate state suggests that
it lay exposed to the elements for decades.
Continuing with the circular theme: a long-discarded Planters Peanuts lid retrieved from Marble Point.
Incidentally, Mr. Peanut was created in 1916, the final year of Ernest Shackleton’s epic Endurance expedition. Judging by his rendered style here, this Planters man has been languishing in Antarctica since around 1940. Another awesome relic from the Dry Valleys collection of Randall “Crunch” Noring. (Crunch… peanuts… but of course..!)
These washers were found by my McMurdo friend Sharona Thompson who has a keen eye and appreciation for wonderfully weathered material.
I’m excited about these for both shape and texture. For shape because circles are central to my imagery, from blowholes to portholes and ice holes to ozone holes. And for the ravaged surfaces as physical evidence of Antarctica’s unforgiving elements. Thanks Sharona!
The subject of this ‘sister image’ to yesterday’s post is whaling.
The first Antarctic whaling station was established in 1904 at South Georgia island. By the mid-20th century, several of the eight whale species that populate Antarctic waters had been hunted to the edge of extinction. They’re now gradually recovering thanks to international regulation of commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean, though their numbers aren’t nearly that of a hundred years ago.
At the other end of the world by contrast, whale hunting has been central to the Inupiat people’s subsistence for over a millennium. I’m currently marveling over thewhalehunt.org, a unique photo-documentary of an Inupiat whale hunt in Barrow, Alaska. Its extraordinary approach to storytelling and brilliant interface was created by Jonathan Harris, with stunning photography by Andrew Moore. Not to be missed.
I create my sketchbook entries improvisationally, drawing on Antarctic impressions
and recollections as I go along. By this process I’m building a visual vocabulary with
which to create the Long View Project’s sculptural pieces.
This particular composition codifies Antarctic tools, venesta shelving, and maps. My principal medium is cut paper, often reclaimed from old mail, packaging and scraps.
Today’s sketchbook page imagines some of the large number of undiscovered species that Antarctica is home to. Scientists are hoping to reveal some of the mysteries of evolution through these future underwater discoveries, and I never tire of visually speculating on the nature and appearance of these life forms. It’s a theme I’ll be returning to often throughout my project.
There are no trees or bushes in Antarctica. But I see an autumn leaf in the shape of this crushed can from Marble Point.
This rusted, folded wad of perforated metal was given to me by Eddie, a McMurdo fireman. The delicate object looks and feels like a light little pillow in the hand, so I’ve resisted the initial impulse to open it up. I’ll be keeping my collected artifacts as intact and unaltered as possible when working them into the artworks.
The items I collected and shipped home from Antarctica have arrived. I’m pretty excited to have this eclectic collection of treasures in hand and am in the process of cataloging them to keep track of what ends up where. I’ll show some of these over the next few days before returning to the sketchbook pages, and will continue alternating between Antarctic items and the sketchbook throughout the project.
I’ll debut the Antarctic collection with a personal favorite: a chain assembly tag from Marble Point, an established field camp in the Dry Valleys. As you’ll see in the posts to come, most of my best stuff came from Marble Point courtesy of Crunch the station manager. Big thanks Crunch for your generosity!
In this sketch a silhouetted figure lurks by the letterpress in the Nimrod hut’s cluttered interior. I’m playing shape off line to create illusions of space and fragmenting elements to suggest dimensionality. With these stylistic motifs I also intend to draw analogies between Cubism and the heroic age of polar exploration, both of which developed simultaneously, created sensations in their day, and used found material to facilitate their exploits.