Antarctic Village No Borders
2022 - 2007
Materials: 50 original dome dwellings, hand stitched with nation flags, fragments of clothing, webbing, silkscreen print, telescopic armatures
Catalogued: Les Portes du possible. Art & science-fiction, Éditions du Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2022; Antarctica, Electa Mondadori, 2008, ISBN 978-88-370-6337-5
Exhibition history: 2022 Centre Pompidou-Metz, Les Portes du possible. Art & science-fiction, France; 2007 Antarctica
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
In 2007, the End of the World Biennale in Ushuaia commissioned Lucy + Jorge Orta to embark upon a remarkable expedition to Antarctica aboard the Hercules KC130 flight. Toward the end of the Austral summer, during the months of February–March, aided by the logistical crew and scientists stationed at the Marambio Antarctic Base, the artists founded the ephemeral Antarctic Village and raised the first Antarctic Flag as a tribute to the Antarctic Treaty.
The body of work Antarctica addresses issues relating to the environment, politics, autonomy, habitat, mobility and relationships among peoples. The Antarctic is home to the earth’s most hostile climate conditions. It is the coldest place on the planet, with temperatures as low as -80° C. Its desert of ice is the largest in the world. No permanent human settlements exist there, and there is no native population. Yet, it is a wonderful nature reserve whose glaciers contain 70% of the planet’s fresh water and it is the only region on earth not claimed by any country and politically neutral. The Antarctic Treaty, which now counts over 50 signatory nations, has preserved Antarctica as an area for scientific research with common pacific aims to protect the environment and to encourage international cooperation. For Lucy + Jorge Orta, Antarctica embodies utopia: a continent whose extreme climate imposes mutual aid and solidarity, freedom of research, of sharing, and collaboration for the good of the planet. It is a place where the immaculate whiteness contains all the wishes of humanity to spread a message of hope for future generations.