This Arctic Journey has been in my mind for over 2 years.
Over and over I prepared myself for it, meticulously seeking the smartest concept to bring about exploring the best way to develop it.
With the excitement for this new adventure, there was also a growing sense of competition. I must do my best!!!
The competitive sailor together with the hard-core New Yorker (or as the call me in Maui “the expediter” ), urged to never over estimate my talent and be ready to give it my best. meanwhile, the other side, attempted to remind me trust in the moment and in the experience to be guide my work.
The way to the Arctic was paved by challenging tasks such seeking funding for my trip, equipment and weather gear to survive the arctic weather. Also financial and family issues kept encroaching in my way yet I kept looking north.
The project I developed was a series of performance and legal land occupation build around the controversial phenomenal of “Arctic land rush”, land appropriation and land rights of the UN’s Arctic territories (link).
However, in site-specific work inspiration comes by experiencing the space so the work mutated as I experienced the Arctic firs hand giving birth to a new set of work and experimentation.
Sailing the Arctic was a life changing experience.
I was instantaneously captured by the Arctic natural ecosystem, honest, violent, beyond human intellectualizations, unquestionably alive, yet so vulnerable.
This balance between power and vulnerability makes it incredibly beautiful.
A beauty and a strength that just is.
A beauty and a strength that doesn’t need to show off.
Tundra likene freezes over surviving the winter, yet a foot print can damage it for a 100 years.
Snow deer eat grass all summer to endure winter, yet in the spring, when lives thrive, they are most vulnerable and can die of an hart attack if frighten by a tourist taking a photograph.
Birds eat fish and baby seals. Seals need thick snow to build a shelter. If the snow is to thin, birds brake through with their beak and kill the Cubs.
Polar bare are deadly hunters yet drowning due to lack of ice to hunt on.
Disrupting this delicate balance of life and death is disastrous for the all ecosystems, so you can image my rage when I saw pristine arctic shores cover in trash from allover the world.
Plastic on top of plastic carried by the ocean currents, shampoo bottles, ropes, tons of broken fishing nets, fishing lines and plastic bags entangled around every living form it finds in the way.
Here is how much per day!
The captain of the Antigua showed me a photo he took of seal gasping in pain, trap in a plastic rope that had cut into its flash.
She made it thought the winter, the birds, the hunter and the polar bears; today, it’s this a vulgar peace of plastic that will end its life as the one of so may living organisms.
The sight of this horror hunts me today.
Here is a video of the amount of plastic we collected in only one beach clean up. This is a 1.5 Cubic Yard Bulk bag .
Heartbroken by such experiences, and expanding on the work previously done, I began thinking of ways to translate this experience in to a 3 to an interactive installation capable of bringing this reality close to home .
The first element of this journey is an interactive installation that functions as a human scale wind simulator, the work uses plastic waste to visualize the impact of plastic discarded into our environment. Using the laws of “apparent deflection,” I simulate a miniature garbage vortex using powerful fans to push air up, down and around the room. The visitor walks into a controlled environment where wind currents sculpt the surrounding space with dunes and patterns of plastic particles. Here the visitor position is reverted from “the polluter” to “the one polluted upon”.
Each plastic specimen will be collected from various locations across the world via an online open call. Each specimen is documented, including of photographs, geo tag, description, size, color, how and when it became waste and the name of the person that collected it. Documented via social media, these supporting materials give a story to the discarded object, tracking down its origins, reason to be (now trash) and bringing awareness to our behaviors and surroundings. This documentation will be exhibited in a separate room and after the event, the battered plastic is collected in glass containers and stored away.
The power and vulnerability of this ecosystem is palpable, not only in the landscape but also in the air and especially in the sound.
Bare to the nerves, the arctic silence exposes one to smallest vibration of life, a sound chamber which totally shift one perception of space and being.
I became obsessed with recording sounds with wide ranger microphones including, regular ambient mikes, directional mikes, high frequency mikes, contact mikes and under water form 3 miter to 6o meters.
Expanding on that, I began associating the sound to 10 minute long video shots of a giving location with all the range of sounds recorded in that location, creating a full soundscape of the experience.
The ideas behind is create “video post card” of a given location, allowing the viewer to explore the landscape through sound. In other words, the frame of the video remains the same, while the sound in the video changes of frequency and focus. This allowing the viewer to see and explore the Plural Dimensionality of that given location through sound.
Arctic Landscapes – Editing test for multi screen installation.
I also worked with the perception of being as see using the port holes on the Antigua. I positioned a camera per each port hole and once out in the open sea during a storm I turn all the cameras on simultaneously. The idea is to recreate the disorienting experience of being a see while sailing into a storm.
As I expose myself and the work to the Arctic Landscape ( recording sounds , taking pictures, video and occupying arctic land), the less I felt the need of using the word “I”.
“I” such a cry for attention”, I thought.
”I”, reminded me of that vulgar and deadly pile of plastic.
”I” am an artist.
”I” am here, in the Arctic, making art.
”I” am Italian. am ”I” ?
”I” realize how hard it is to avoid the word ”I” an English grammar. Or am ”I” a bed writer?
”I”, want to be like the Arctic.
”I”, want my work to be like the Arctic
Of an Honesty , power and beauty that just is, without the “I”.
”I” felt pointless. That is when the Arctic broke me stripping me down of certainties, shipwrecking me on the shore.
What came to my rescued was piece of ice. Peaceful and beautiful. Temporary run ashore by the currents and shaped like a womb it invited me climb in and rest. Meditating with it, I abandon all the intellectual approaches, toss the technical tool box and feel. Exploring the space through the body, lungs and skin i found a new center.
So after many years production heavy work, I went back to bare skin, body art and performance. Beck to were, as an artist, I started from.
Naked, I lay on the ice letting myself go , concentrating, breathing, navigating the texture of the ice with my finger, drifting with the sound of the melting eyes beneath me, with thundering power of the glacier calving in the distance, with the waves and the bells like sound of iceberg touching one-another by the current and the waves.
I was the center of all and nothing at all.
Finally I understood, I was there, here in the Arctic, focused, vulnerable, honest with myself.
As I melted as one with the ice I was free.
Meditation Part 2 from Maia Anthea Marinelli on Vimeo.
On our last excursions I reluctant to pack equipment. Determined to take my time and let it all I learn to wait and observe.
On our last day I didn’t carry my bag. Instead, I lay down the snow feeling and absorbing the surrounding, focusing of every vibration, wispier or sound.
What a gift. It started snowing. Buckle in let the snow genteelly pile on me.
Farewell by beloved Arctic. I’ll be back, I see you soon. I promise
Thank you more please.
P.S. Thank you Nicole Gagne for teaching us all your “thank you more please” philosophy.
Thank you for supporting so many creative minds throughout you life.
Thank you for your smile, irony, curiosity and will of life . We miss you girl.
I do sense your presence here and there reminds me to welcome the joy of life and thank the universe.
Thank you more please.
For more Arctic entries check
Meditation Part 2 – Harmony vulnerability and resilience inspired by the Arctic landscape
Drawing after the Arctic Circle + pinholes