Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tromsø forward

Well, it's been a busy month! 

The Tromsø exhibition has been created and installed - just a couple of days after completing our Svalbard sojourn. Now we can begin to sift through our material and give you highlights of the sail and some favorite observations about this special northern region. We've been a little slow to get started since the demise of Cheryl's computer left us sharing one - juggling sound, video and photo editing, archiving, and transmitting the rare email home. Our days were long getting everything accomplished, and we crashed to sleep midnights and later, leaving the blog untouched. 

But from just a few days in Longyearbyen and Tromsø we put together a bang-up installation! Inspired by the majestic Monaco Glacier and Liefdefjord full of melodious ice, we created Monacobreen fom video, composed audio, a few borrowed Norwegian rocks, and a little bit of paint. Sandwiched between two fabulous pieces by Elin Øyen Vister on birds and their soundscape in Røst, we created a dynamic presentation of natural spaces special to northern Norway. More on the installation and performance by Cheryl and Elin to come.

Cheryl is off to perform in Regensburg, Germany, and I am heading home. 

Sitting in the Trondhem airport with hours before my flight to Oslo gives me the chance to thank everyone who helped make this first phase of Adfreeze Project possible: Aaron O'Conner and The Arctic Circle 2011 residency; the crew of the Antigua; our Spitsbergen guides Karin, Michele, Jan and Ingunn; Galleri Svalbard; the Insomnia Festival for Future Music and Techno Culture; Kurant Gallery - Kristin, Susannah, Christian, Anders and Maria; Elin Øyen Vister; and all our generous supporters and well-wishers.

– Oona

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Bare Facts

We have just returned to Longyearbyen from our sail aboard the S/V Antigua, a barkentine (tall ship with three masts and square sails on the foremast).

More detailed posts about our adventures will follow, but first, here are a few fun facts...

1. Our two expedition guides/polar bear guards were women. They are thinking of forming a band called Girls with Guns.
2. The coldest temperature we worked in outside was -20 C (not including wind chill!). The warmest temperature was +3 C.
3. Our farthest north was N 80°00', E 14°27'.
4. Animal sightings: grazing reindeer, playful walruses, frolicking seals, fossilized brachiopods, one distant polar bear, and fox prints everywhere (but no fox).
5. Birds were felt mostly by their absence. A few hardy species remained for our viewing pleasure every day. One purple-sandpiper even peeped for the microphone.
6. Despite the cold and snow cover, plant life was plentiful, though small and often Dr. Seussean. You just had to look for it. 
7. Ghost towns, shipwrecks, old trapper huts, and research stations: one each.
8. Mines visited: coal, gypsum and marble. None currently in operation.
9. Ice forms observed: broad calving glaciers, beached bar ice, pancake and brash ice, grease ice, and bergy bits.
10. The last few days we had 4-hour-long sunrises directly followed by 4-hour-long sunsets. As of today we are losing about 1/2 hour of sun each day. On October 26th the sun will set for the winter here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

off we go

Yesterday we had a last afternoon hike before setting sail. A light snow rendered everything black and white, erasing the oranges, greens and purples of the late fall landscape. In the summer it would have been a good trip for fossil collecting, but the snow cover made it more about enjoying the landscape, textures and vistas. 

The boat is waiting for us as we scramble to get off our last missives. This afternoon we sail away from internet and regular contact, into the the Arctic wilderness.

Postings will resume on our return, around 10.15.11.

part way up Sarkofagen, view to the north past Longyearbyen

the Antigua awaits us