Antarctica World Passport Delivery Village Shanghai
Lucy + Jorge Orta, 2012-2012
- Ref: 5078
- Materials: Bureau construction in reclaimed materials, chair, desk, various objects, Antarctica World Passports, passport stamps, ink pads
- Dimensions: Variable
- Exhibition history: 2012 9th Shanghai Biennale, China
- Courtesy: The Artists, photographer: Justin Jin
- Concept: Antarctica (1995-2012) is Lucy + Jorge Orta’s most ambitious project to date and brings together all the issues and forms that comprise their art practice, addressing issues relating to the environment, politics, autonomy, habitat, mobility and relationships among peoples.
The Antarctic continent has the 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 80% of the fresh water of the planet and it is the only region on earth not claimed by any country and politically neutral. The Antarctic Treaty, which now counts 49 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 that welcomes everyone, a place whose extreme climate imposes a situation of mutual aid and solidarity, freedom of research, of sharing and collaboration for the good of the whole planet: “Where the immaculate whiteness contains all the wishes of humanity to spread a message of hope for future generations”. In 2007 the artists embarked upon an truly incredible expedition to Antarctica to set up their ephemeral installation Antarctic Village, a encampment of dome dwellings, at the same time they raised the Metisse Flag and created the first Antarctica World Passport.
The Metisse Flag is a kaleidoscope of different nations, as if through the filter of a prism, the flag concentrates all the national colours into the sum of light. All identities coexist, side by side, hand in hand, as the edges blend to symbolise a larger common identity. Their Antarctica World Passport is a facsimile travel document and an edition artwork, which may be issued to every person wishing to become a citizen of the community. On deliverance, the passport requests in return that each new citizen take responsibility for their actions: to dedicate themselves to combat all acts of barbarity, to fight against intimidation and poverty, to support social progress, to protect the environment and endangered species, to safeguard human dignity and to defend the inalienable rights to liberty, justice and peace in the world.
For the Shanghai Biennale, Lucy + Jorge Orta constructed an Antarctica Passport Delivery Village, a collection of small huts made with all kinds of reclaimed materials, erected on stilts and interconnected by a raised platform of bamboo. Due to the effects of global warming it is estimated that sea levels will raise 0.5 to 1.4 meters over the next 100 years, the village should remain safe! To mark its presence, the Metisse Flag will indicate the delivery bureau, where a passport officer will hand out the third edition of the Antarctica World Passport. Printed in Chinese for the occasion of the Shanghai Biennale, tens of thousands of passports will be distributed to the visitors of the Museum, to welcome new members into the Antarctica world community, based on the founding principles of the Antarctic Treaty.