×

Subscribe to Candid Magazine

Antarctic Biennale – Art for Humanity in Frozen Lands

August 26, 2016

ArtsGroup Exhibition | by Harry Seymour


Launched in February 2016, the Antarctic Biennale is a new intercultural and interdisciplinary platform, for artists from across the world to come together, and explore one of the last expanses of uninhabited land through creativity. By placing the participants within an extreme environment, they have limited resources, outside interaction, confined spaces, unfamiliar landscapes – the list goes on. But what it does do, is help push these artists to create some of their most unique and creative work while under this duress – it is testing them to their absolute limits.

Antarctic Biennale, 2016
Antarctic Biennale, 2016

The project explores the idea that like the oceans, the sky and other planets, so too is the Antarctic, a shared space. It belongs to everyone, and is simultaneously everyone’s responsibility to protect. This project, the first Antarctic Biennale, re-imagines the traditional art event, which is broken down in to countries, as a coming together of these countries in an icey no mans land. The Antarctic Treaty in 1959 stated in an international agreement that the land is intended to be exclusive for creative activities and scientific research to help humanity prosper. This whole content is currently an unused gallery, workshop and studio.

Antarctic Biennale, 2016
Antarctic Biennale, 2016

The project is carefully aware of the eco-impact. Projects will focus on the Antarctic itself, and how in a wider scheme the work undertaken there can better humanity, when the expedition launches in March 2017. So far, many meetings have been held throughout the world, in London, New York, Moscow and Venice to name a few, with the expedition leaders and curators touring to explain and promote their aims. The project is being led by international curator Alexander Ponomarev, who is a member of the Russian Academy of Arts – he is a global arts visionary and explorer who has create projects from the Arctic to the Sahara.

Antarctic Biennale, 2016
Antarctic Biennale, 2016

An open call has just been announced to shortlist the 100 participants who will be invited to board the ship for this historic trip – they are looking for artists, scientists, creative and visionaries form all over the world who can turn the research vessel in to a sailing workshop, debate zone, performance venue, laboratory and conference centre. The most successful of the projects will then embark a world tour after the trip. It’s an interdisciplinary vision of creative unity. The model has been used before, such as work Vienna based TBA21 who have sent a research boat filled with artists and scientists across the oceans to draw attention to their fragility, yet it’s an idea still in its infancy, and one that is certain to help people think outside their usual remits, helping to utilise art as a tool to inspire social change in order to better humanity. We can’t wait to see the results.

For more information, or to apply to the open call, visit  the website