As shown at BOA in Oslo & Babel in Trondheim 2018
Together with Pete Fleming, Exhibition Text
In late 2007 a unmanned vessel planted a small flag at the Arctic seabed, deep below the evermoving ice. The flag itself wasn’t very special, simply a base with a metal pole sticking out, but the message it carried echoed across nations. Naturally, the nearby states felt obliged to respond, to show that they also took an interest in the area. And so scientific teams were hastily gathered and flown out to meet up with ice breakers and militaries were scrambled to attack a fictitious enemy far above the little flag.
At this time the dispute has yet to be settled. All that we know is that the ice won’t be there forever, and deep below lay riches beyond our wildest dreams.
This is a reproduction of something that an expedition accidentally found in the Blacks Sands area in northern Greenland.
They were there to investigate if there were any valuable minerals among the beaches’ volcanic sand. They’d been at sea for a few days, taking measurements from afar, before making land. And it was actually at this point, at the first beach — after crossing the black sand, while facing the towering mountain wall — that they found something unexpected. Between the rock, sand and snow there was a small nest of living, growing plants.
But since the expedition was there to look at the sand and nothing else they took little note of the event at the time. And it was lucky that one of them later shared the story with one of the botanists back at the base, who went on to write a small piece about the plants for a publication back home.
Since then no one has been able to find their way back there. But a historian recently claimed to have figured out the mystery surrounding the small group of plants on the beach.
During the winter of 1849 the crew aboard the North Star accidentally got themselves very stuck in icy waters right by the Black Sands area in northern Greenland.
The crew made the best out of their dire situation, especially the naturalist Lou Hall who’d come along to document arctic flora. She often wandered out among the hills with the others, to climb peaks or hunt for rabbits. Some days she even walked out onto the ice alone, making trips much further out than any of the other crew.
On one of her trips she reached one of the many beaches covered by black sand. She made her way down to where the stooping rock face met the sand and took out a few seeds she’d brought along. It must have felt like the end of the world to her, standing there, looking out across the vast ocean.
If she planted the seeds to see if they’d grow she never got to see the results of her experiment. About a week later the ship came loose and the crew thankfully made it back out to the open ocean.