For the June 2023 expedition, my plan was to create a visual comparison in the style of survey photographers of “what was” and “what is”. I therefore brought with me fifty silver gelatin prints from my 2016 collection to compare, once on landings, the changes (or not) of this “pristine” land. These were developed but not fixed as the plan was to re-expose them once in the Arctic under the 24h daylight and fix them once back home. However, we sailed to only one of the 2016 landings as the packed ice was too close to the northern shores where we had spent most of your expedition 7 years prior.
After that one landing, I was delighted and lost!
Delighted because i could at least visually compare one specific area like I had planned. And there, sadly, one can notice a great change in the glaciers and land after only 7 years.
Lost because this project that I had so carefully planned had come to an end only after one landing. I was therefore lost in the preconceived thoughts that I had organized so strategically for this 2023 expedition.
How was I now supposed to address climate changes in the Arctic circle?
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As we navigated from one glacier to another in an area of Svalbard that has yet to be charted, I quickly realised that my collection of images I had so carefully constructed could be undoubtedly be re-exposed no mater where I was in this archipelago since what I was trying to foster with this artistic process was to bring forward into the artistic realm the great importance of communicating visually drastic changes to/in the Arctic. As only a small number of people get to see, breath, feel the changes in the Arctic, the great value is to generate a conversation about the extensive impacts on all of us, no matter where we live, and this, with the art platform.
All my images were therefore re-exposed by the Arctic daylight in different parts of the southern and eastern coasts of Spitzbergen with the subtle elements that are being altered by our selfish behaviors: the fauna, the warming waters, the melting glaciers, the weather changes, the changing ice floes, etc. With this work, I hope to generate the knowledge that our behavior elsewhere in the world, can have great impact on the smallest important pieces in the Arctic.
These images are now physical ghostly icons of the past and present to examen our future. The smallest impact on the Arctics fragile system will come back to haunt us if we don’t take great care of it. Now is not the time to grieve; now is the time to change so that we will never grieve.