Amphibious Trilogies

Leaving the archipelago

DAY 14-15 on the Arctic Floating University Expedition
Friday 5 July 2019

Phantasmagoria, movements in the interface, return

Oh, Svalbard! What is your fate? Will I ever see you again?

Thursday: 15.30: We are about to leave Barenstburg, heading seawards on the homeward journey. The sun is shining. The water is calm. On the beach, I take the opportunity to make a semi-submerged video recording that captures the archipelago between the land, sea and sky. Wading in the water, the camera bobs up and down. In this liminal zone, the mingling of fishy and oily smells make up a tangy aroma.

Movements in the interface
Phantasmagorical surges, slips and warps
Castle

On board the ship, we hear that a big storm is brewing, with waves seven meters high. Anticipating this, we prepare our cabins, securing things in cupboards and draws. It will be a rocky ride.

16.40: North Greenland Sea: We have entered the open sea. I’m on the upper deck. The stern. I inhale the sea air, breathe by breathe. On the horizon I see the archipelago pulling away, diminishing, minute by minute, into the distant future.

Friday: I take a look at a photo of the first glimpse of Svalbard as seen on the horizon in 29 June 2019. Here it is. So similar.

In this snapshot, the heavy clouds reveal the turbulent status of the weather and sea. We saw the mountainous archipelago approaching on the horizon, becoming ever bigger, more detailed, minute by minute, propelling us into new near futures.

. . . . . . . . . .

End note: Setting out, homeward bound, I reflected upon what I have called ‘a journey-based approach to an extended choreography’. Journey as medium in extending choreography. Food for thought ……… A journey, backwards.

A journey signifies the process of some kind of change, a movement forward; eyes and bodies turned ahead, towards a final destination. But, let us also consider a sea voyage, when on departure most travellers gather at the stern watching the land recede; sometimes waving goodbye, measuring the distance, anticipating. How significant are the gestures of looking back and moving backwards during a journey? Both presuppose setting the eyes in the opposite direction to the movement and form something like a transition phrase, a threshold, in which a disorienting experience of movement and time occurs. – K. Georgelou, 20111.

1. Georgelou, K. (2011), A journey, backwards, RTRSRSCH Vol. 3, 2012, p.52
Link: https://issuu.com/kunsthogeschool/docs/rtrsrch5_paxton

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