Our ice caps are melting. Through an Artificial Intelligence generated video installation, the Antarctic Pavilion explores whether there’s hope if we act now.
PANGAIA is proud to support the first ever Antarctic Pavilion, featuring the artwork Cold Flux by Ben Cullen Williams, at the London Design Biennale 2021.
How did you get involved with Robert Swan and the London Design Biennale?
I went on an expedition with Robert to the Antarctic a few years ago. I was introduced serendipitously through a friend of a friend and a couple of months later I was meeting him in Ushuaia at the bottom of Argentina. He instilled a belief that it’s our duty to act rather than thinking other people will act. So as Antarctica doesn’t have an embassy I thought could act as an ambassador for the continent at the Biennale, fortunately Robert was happy to be involved too. A collective individual effort rather than a political representative. This mindset I believe is the way we must approach many issues facing our planet.
What was the most memorable/impactful experience from your expedition to Antarctica and why?
When I was seven years old I did a school assignment about Scott of the Antarctic. I was drawn in by the idea of this vast untouched wild expanse of snow and ice, seen in the grainy black and white pictures of that expedition. So to be in place that I had pictured from such a young age was incredibly special. The unforgiving rawness of the natural world there couldn’t be stronger, yet it is truly the most beautiful place I have witnessed.
What interests you most about the intersection between space, technology and landscape?
As humans we are constantly reorientating ourselves within the built and unbuilt landscapes as they change, we are confronted with the familiar and unfamiliar. Technology is a key mediator in the way that we see and understand the world around us; through new architectural and technological structures, to GPS networks that tell us where to go, or internet searches create preconceived ideas about a place before arrival, or algorithms that create weather predictions. Our understanding of the world around us is fundamental in our ability to dwell and forge a symbiotic relationship with the planet.
How can art be used to better our planet?
Contemporary art reacts with the now, the present. It teases out complex issues and ideas that are not necessarily clear within society or indeed it is able to distill complex issues into singular works. So art can be used to create discussion and thought, I don’t think it is necessarily the role of the artist to argue a point, rather bring a series of issues to the surface. So when addressing such a complex issue such as our planet, I believe it is to make people tune in, connect and raise debate.