Antarctique, Une Présence Absente

Antarctica, An Absent Presence



Australian Antarctic Division
Australia Council for the Arts
France Culture
Image–Philip Samartzis

This work provides a compendium of observations using sound recordings and text to convey an experience of Antarctica different to those presented through the lens of natural history, climate science or human exploration. It is a reimagining of a place marked by a strong sense of absence, empty and white, deserted and silent. The format is designed to acknowledge the revered, almost religious place of the journal in Antarctic exploration. It is central to the promulgation of the mythology shrouding Antarctica founded on the much-vaunted heroic age in which qualities of endurance, sacrifice and hardship are heralded. Alternative perspectives however abound in the journals of support crew. In them are fascinating descriptions of the numbing banality of life predicated on strict routine and hierarchy, which provide insight into the complex social structures informing Antarctic occupation. The work documents the complex and dynamic interactions occurring between sound, material and space, and the manner in which they coalesce to facilitate new readings of place. Antarctica provides a rare opportunity to articulate an experience of a region unavailable to all but a handful of people authorised to safeguard its interests. A blank space bordered by nothingness concealing a confounding set of encounters for those fortunate enough to breach its frozen perimeter.

Lisen to Antarctique, Une Présence Absente