Antarctica is Earth’s only continent without a native human population. Nevertheless it now has as anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people residing in research stations throughout the year across the region. They come from 30 different nations, all signatory to the Antarctic Treaty that regulates international relations on the Ice. An additional 20 nations without Antarctic bases are signatories as well. As such, the The Antarctic Treaty Organization’s flag design, adopted in 2002, is the closest that the continent has to an official flag.
This has prompted several designers to propose their version of what Antarctica’s official banner might be. The designs are not unattractive. However in my view, any single flag is bound to fall short in communicating the continent’s lack of sovereign rule. Single emblems imply single political entities, which Antarctica is not. Instead, Antarctica’s identity might better be served by introducing not one, but an endless procession of new flags. Collectively, this would represent continually changing ideas of what a non-nation continent can and should be.
This and the following few sketchbook pages muse on what this procession might look like. Created with fabric, they combine national and territorial emblems with altered colors and fictional embellishments to produce hybrids that speak to the shared nature of Antarctica and the diversity of its inhabitants.