About the Archive


A huge ice cap, white and unreachable, that conceals the history of the Earth and possibly its future. Antarctica has always been imagined as the farthest South, the last frontier of human conquer, beyond which an indefinite and unfathomable, mysterious space exists. Throughout the history of humankind, undiscovered lands have always represented the unknown, the fear of darkness, the awareness of human limits. The dark and impenetrable forest was home to the “foreigner” , and the associated perceived threat. Indeed human body has managed to reach out down to the center of Antarctica, confronting itself with extreme cold and weather , in a sledge, a tiny submarine, or more recently metal boxes packed with scientific instruments. Nevertheless, science has not yet managed to fully explore, record, and file the wholeness of the Big White South. Antarctica, without polar bears that could revive our childhood imagination, is a territory without men for men of science and government. A wild continent, that has to be tamed, controlled.

Little is known of the devastating impact of climate change on Southern Pole ice, but much is known about its key role in keeping the planet in balance. Similarly, little was known of the geographical maps and their contours, of the true extension of this land. Aristoteles imagined it as an hypothetic continent – “Terra Australis Incognita” – later imagined by Greek-Egyptian astrologist and mathematician, Ptolemaeus, that ascribed to the continent the role of balancing the weight of the Eurasian continent in the Western hemisphere. Re-reading such a narrative today, under the lens of geopolitics, results to be an unusual experiment, in a world whereas the old North suffers the consequences of a civilization crisis (be it a cultural, political or economic one) and the South that would have to contribute to ensure such an hypothetic balance. The Southern Pole hence becomes the symbol of the future unknown world, that still has to unveil from its very depth, a border once inviolable and now made accessible. A land of extremes to the extremes of the Earth. The challenge for the artist is that of attempting to offer an original reading of the whole range of these investigation leads. The fear of the immense ice, brilliantly rendered, in a quasi-esoteric nuance, in Lovecraft’s [1] novels, where black and white – the lack of color and the sum of all colors – are compared to Dante’s Inferno. An awareness and as well a rejection of the limits of humans and of planet Earth.

Rosa Jijon

blogger: Francesco Martone



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