Antarctica World Passport Office: Athens Biennale
2009 - 2014
Materials: In situ installation using reclaimed materials, chair, desk, various objects, Antarctica World Passports, passport stamps, ink pads
Dimensions: Variable, according to site
Exhibition history: 2014 Parc de la Villette, Paris, France; 2009 Athens Biennale, Greece
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 80% 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 first Antarctic Flag as a tribute to the Antarctic Treaty.
The Antarctica World Passport Delivery Bureau is a public engagement artwork that invites to visitors to register for an Antarctica World Passport, and become members of the ever-growing global community. The Antarctica World Passport embodies the notion of Operational Aesthetics, to prompt citizens of the world to take action against the disaterous effects of global warming, and to strive for peace, both of which threaten the Antarctic.