Antarctica Village - No Borders

Principal Investigator:Professor Lucy Orta
College: London College of Fashion

Project summary

In the spring of 2007, Lucy + Jorge Orta went on an expedition to Antarctica as part of an artistic project on this frozen continent.

It was both a real and a symbolic journey to the edge of the world, which saw the artists living in an extreme environment under the severest survival conditions.

From February to March 2007, travelling from Buenos Aires, Lucy + Jorge Orta created the ephemeral artwork 'Antarctic Village - No Borders'. The in-situ installation, which took place during the Austral summer, coincided with the last of the scientific expeditions before the winter months and the ice mass becomes too thick to traverse.

Aided by the team of scientists stationed at the Marambio Antarctic Base situated on the Seymour-Marambio Island, (64°14'S 56°37'W), the artists scouted the continent by helicopter searching for different sites for the temporary encampment comprised of 50 dome dwellings.

Antarctic Village is a symbol of the plight of those struggling to traverse borders and gain the freedom of movement necessary to escape political and social conflict. Dotted along the ice, the domes formed a settlement reminiscent of the images of refugee camps we see so often reported on our television screens and newspapers.

Antarctic Village is emblematic of Ortas' body of work, composed of what could be termed modular architecture and reflecting qualities of nomadic shelters and campsites. The dwellings themselves are hand-stitched together by a traditional tentmaker with sections of flags from countries around the world, along with extensions of clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people.

Together the flags and fragments of identities are emblazoned with silkscreen motifs referencing the UN Declaration for Human Rights freedom of movement, representing a physical embodiment of a new 'Global Village'.