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ICE BLINK: Simon Faithful


Simon Faithfull

An Arts Catalyst Touring Exhibition

Curated by Lisa Le Feuvre

18 March - 14 May 2006, Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
1 - 30 April 2006, Cell, London, UK
8 April - 8 May 2006, Parker's Box, New York, US

Ice Blink: An Antarctic Essay
Lecture-performance by Simon Faithfull. Book co-published by Book Works and Arts Catalyst
Fri 21 April 2006, 6.30pm, Society of Antiquaries, London, UK

Ice Blink is a term referring to a white glare that appears on the underside of low clouds in sub-zero sea conditions, indicating the presence of ice beyond the range of vision, and warning ships to be on guard.

Artist Simon Faithfull was invited to travel to Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey as part of The Arts Council's International Fellowships Programme. Departing from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire he travelled on to the Falklands via Ascension Island, where he joined scientists on board the ice-strengthened ship RSS Ernest Shackleton. On its way south to Antarctica, the ship broke its way through expanses of sea-ice, passing icebergs, ice cliffs and uninhabited islands heading for the science-fiction-like Halley Research Station perched on stilts above the empty, white wilderness. Surrounded by inhospitable conditions outside of the vessel the crew within lived their own set conventions and references that had developed over years of exploration, independent of the changing society in the external world.

Ice Blink is an exhibition of work from this incredible journey; daily drawings made on a palm pilot etched onto glass; a poetic film of a whaling station populated with seals, photographs that defy perceptions of scale; films of the view through the porthole redolent with a Sokurov-like quality of light; experiments with weather balloons; and a performative lecture highlighting the myths of Antarctica and the realities of how the climate change has shifted this archetypal remote location.

Antarctica is a mythical location that has captured the imagination of many, and whose reality defies known perceptions of scale and experience. It is the location where the effects of global warming can be physically experienced and where the remote becomes an identifiable place. Antarctica is a site tied up with a sense of British identity: a territory far from these shores that conjures legends of great explorers and journeys.
The Antarctica series is an incredible body of work that is filled with a poetics and politics of space, place, and perceptions.

On 21 April, at the Society of Antiquaries to accompany the exhibition, Faithfull will deliver a lecture-performance, Ice Blink: An Antarctic Essay when he will tell his story. The lecture moves from topics such a the melting ice cap and the calving of icebergs to perceptual confusions with loss of scale, claiming territories in Antarctica and making gin and tonics with ice a million years old.

Ice Blink: An Antarctic Essay will be published by Book Works and The Arts Catalyst in April. Available from Book Works 020 7247 2203 www.bookworks.org.uk, price tbc.

23 Cockburn Street
Edinburgh EH1 1BP
18 March-14 May 2006
Open daily 11am-6pm
Tel: 0131 622 6200
Admission free

Cell Project Space
258 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA
1-30 April 2006
Open: Fridays-Sundays 12-6pm
Admission free
Tel: 020 7241 3600

Parker's Box, New York, USA
8 April - 8 May 2006
193 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Society of Antiquaries
Friday 21 April 2006
6.30 to 9pm
Burlington House
London W1