Antarctica World Passport Office: Frieze Projects London
Materials: Reconditioned military trailer, wood dug-out canoe, painted steel, glass, canteens, linens, various found objects, Antarctica flag, online passport inscription, Antarctica World Passports, iPads, passport stamps, ink pads
Dimensions: Part 1: 300h x 150 x 280 cm / Part 2: 334h x 150 x 330 cm
Exhibition history: 2022 Centre Pompidou-Metz, France; 2017 Frieze Projects, London, UK curated by Raphael Gygax
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Antarctica World Passport is a limited edition artwork created by the artists Lucy + Jorge Orta. It forms part of the artists' research project 'Antarctica', which explores topics relating to the environment, politics, autonomy, habitat, mobility and relationships among peoples. For the artists, Antarctica represents Utopia: a continent whose extreme climate imposes mutual aid and solidarity, to research and collaborate together. The immaculate ice landscape is a filter for the kaleidoscope that make up our nations and multi-ethnic identities, concentrating the colours, races and creeds into the sum of light, and the purity of Hope.
The first passport office was presented at Lucy + Jorge Orta's survey exhibition at the Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan (2008). It now exists in different sculptural formats and the participatory action of delivering passports is re-activated each time. The passport offices are generally constructed with reclaimed wood and found objects including boats, water recipients, suitcases, toys, that tower and bulge over rudimentary structures synonymous with the shanty town and border crossings that artists have traversed in some of remotest corners of the planet.
The process of obtaining a passport –the participatory performative experience– takes just a few minutes. The applicant is asked to pledge to a set of obligations presented by the passport officer. Personal data is entered into the application porthole and for each passport registered, a unique identification number (UIN) is automatically generated to authenticate the passport edition. The UIN is inscribed on the passport and stamped by the officer. The symbolic transferal of one's individual national identity, to that of the collective world citizen, is part of the artwork's performative element and embodies the notion of Operational Aesthetics, by inciting the general public to take action. The registered passport citizens populate a new interconnected 'no-borders' world map, a potent visualisation portraying the mass-mobilization across the globe, from Europe, to the hardest hit environmental and political catastrophe zones including the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Alaska, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. View the World Map
Passport editions total 57,000 copies: Ed. 10,000 Hangar Bicocca Milan (2008); Ed. 30,000 Southbank Centre London (2012); Ed. 10,000 La Villette Paris (2014); Ed 5,000 Frieze Projects London (2017); Ed 2,000 Migration Week Marrakesh (2018).
The Frieze Projects Antartica World Passport Office was installed in London from October 4-8, 2017, with a record distribution of 5,000 passports.