Katleen Vermeir

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I was invited by the University of Antwerp to participate in a polar expedition to Spitsbergen, one of the worlds last wilderness areas. The video wants to focus on how the landscape can influence history or how ideology can color a landscape…In the video the expedition to the North Pole is is narrated in an ironic way, using the format of an old silent black and white movie with text inserts, a reminder of early documentary films, pictures and even paintings that were made on board of ships on their way to the North Pole. The archipelago is not just a wild place, but highly important economically and politically. It was the starting point for several expeditions to the North Pole, which became a nationalistic competition in which the media contributed greatly. It was and still is a resource for minerals like coal and gold and several countries are trying to get a foothold in the area to increase their influence. Also research has become an international competition, with climate research as the big topic. 24 hour accessible data from satellites are highly important for weather forecasts all over the world. The island is therefore equipped with 2 glassfibre cables and can send generous amounts of data at the fastest speed…
Knowledge is here also a side effect of economic interests. Expensive research is sponsored in order to be more present in these regions, now that vast regions become more and more accessible due to the receding of the ice. The importance of being present in the area has been demonstrated by the Russians in the summer of 2007. They installed their flag with a submarine on the bottom of the sea under the ice of the North Pole. Canadians and the Danish responded in similar competitive language.