Farthest North (2015-2019)
Farthest North is a collaboration with Claudia O’Steen synthesizing the profound psychological effect of traversing one of the most rarefied places on Earth in the footprints of a failed explorer. In 1897, explorer S.A. Andrée attempted to fly to the North Pole in a silk hydrogen balloon. Andrée intended to be first to the North Pole, and planned to map the region using aerial cameras engineered for cartographic use. Shortly after taking off from the archipelago of Svalbard, however, the expedition crashed. Their remains were found 33 years later, the cause of their deaths unknown. Amongst the remains were several canisters of exposed film, preserved in the snow.
Miles away in space and time, we spent the better part of 2016 deciphering the topography of the arctic landscape through the flat surface of a screen, closely inspecting each pixel. Later that summer, we travelled to the high arctic, retracing the route of Andrée. From the top of a mountain, we gazed across Virgohamna, the same arctic harbor that appears in Andrée’s photographs, and below them observed the remains of his balloon hangar, ravaged by the harsh climate.
Kollafjørður is a cairn with a video embedded inside. The video documents a trip from the Arctic Circle to Kollafjørður, Iceland in order to trace the path of S. A. Andrée's message buoy number 7. Andrée dropped the buoy at the beginning of his failed expedition to the North Pole, and it washed up on the Northwestern shore of Iceland nearly two years later bearing a ghostly message from the lost expedition.
Örnen documents a brief kite flight overlooking Virgohamna with color card on kite painted to match the color of the sky in Providence, RI.