Materials: Lambda colour photograph backed on Dibond. Edition of 10 (3 AP)
Dimensions: 90 x 120 cm
Catalogued: p. 120, Lucy + Jorge Orta Food Water Life, Princeton Architecture Press, NY. ISBN 978-1-56898-991-4
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
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 has preserved Antarctica as an area for scientific research with common pacific aims to protect the environment and to encourage international cooperation. 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.
In 2007, the End of the World Biennale in Ushuaia commissioned the artists to embark upon a remarkable expedition to Antarctica aboard the Hercules KC130 flight. Toward the end of the Austral summer, aided by the logistical crew and scientists stationed at the Marambio Antarctic Base, Lucy + Jorge Orta founded their ephemeral Antarctic Village and raised the Antarctica Flag as a tribute to the Antarctic Treaty.
The artsits' 'métisse' flag represents 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, similar to the snowy white of purity and hope. All identities coexist, side by side, hand in hand. The edges blend, symbolising belonging to a larger common identity. The flag of a new world community, to be raised as a supranational emblem of human rights.