opaque quiet

2007
Mcmurdo Station, Antarctica
Publicly engaged installation

Just saying the word Antarctica conjures visions of vast emptiness, silent expansiveness, and intense isolation.  The Ice, as temporary inhabitants endearingly refer to it, has these attributes.  Yet in order for a community to live in this inhospitable landscape they must clump together, share resources, and coexist.  The social silence at the United States Antarctic Program's research base, McMurdo Station, is non-existent.

One thousand people live on station each austral summer. The station employs operation staff 24 hours a day. Each science support member works at least 60 hours a week. Two to five people share small dormitory rooms for endless months.  The continuous din of activity is opaque; to leave this operations hub is difficult due to schedule and physical exhaustion. Experiencing Antarctica's vast emptiness, silent expansiveness, and intense isolation seems impossible.

Opaque Quiet was presented at the McMurdo Alternative Art Gallery/Gathering (MAAG) and activated by more than a hundred Ice residents.

 

Documentation by Matthew Charnetski and Tia Kramer, 2007.