From Solid to Liquid: Arctic Field Manual, Vol. 1

with Carolyn Lambert | Performance lecture (40:00) | 2010

Navigation often depends on tools that allow the user to get a long view. The act of being lost disorients the user and negates the usefulness of those instruments. What remains is anything directly in front of the nose and all non-mapped information roughly known about the situation at hand.

In this lecture, the two performers attempt to navigate from the spot they are standing to the Northwest Passage. With so much mediation already distancing the mind’s eye, the distance between here and there is uncertain.

The lecture took as it’s starting point the oddly thorough 1943 Arctic Field Manual, prepared by the Army Air Corps. Ostensibly a guide to navigating and surviving in the Arctic in case of emergency, the two volume set begins in philosophy -  with an overview of the classical Greek understandings of the world’s regions - and extends into the potential for economic development in the high north.

The lecture was presented as a part of Transport at Proteus Gowanus, in conjunction with a short video program:


The lecture included two channels of video, one live (left) and one pre-recorded (right).

Siobhan describes discovering oil behind her house.

Looking out into the Meadowlands, where someone has built paths and bridges of discarded pallets through the marsh.

Carolyn attempts to bike across the pallet bridges to Ikea.

Re-creating the fall of the Andree expedition's hydrogen balloon. The expedition disappeared in 1897, but film was recovered in 1936 when the crash site was finally found.

The film was processed after discovery and revealed many mundane details of the explorer's final days.

The point of maximum inaccessibility - the most difficult place to travel to in the Arctic, as calculated by the US Military.

Animation still: transition out onto the ice sheet, toward Northstar Island.