Tales Beneath the Melting Ice - PhMuseum

Tales Beneath the Melting Ice

Anna Huix

I am fascinated by people who live in remote conditons; whether it be physical or

psychological. It was this fascinaton that first took me to Pyramiden, Svalbard in the

Norwegian Arctic Territory. Pyramiden is a utopian coal-mining town, a landscape-scale

“museum” of soviet-style industrial heritage, bought by Russian state company

Trust Arktikugol in 1927. Though landscapes and portraits, I captured on my first trip

the fragmented remains of a communist dream. The mine closed in 1998 and the

site is now reused for global warming research, alongside historical and polar

tourism. Tales Beneath The Melting Ice documents how this utopian dream coexists

with a newer version of itself, becoming both a tourist attraction and a climate

change research site. I’m interested in documenting the artificiality of the spectacle

created around Soviet industrial history in pristine Arctic and the effects of human

disregard for the planet. I’ll use the grant to return and continue the work I began

(htp://bit.ly/1DABb1V). Through landscape, portrait and scientifc photography, 6x7

format, I’ll complete the series, turn it into a book.

Pyramiden is a unique village, a real-life time-machine that illustrates the untenable

nature of communism. It’s all that remains of a forgotten and failed utopia. But it is,

as well, an A to Z guide on the dreadful consequences of our negligent production

system and its effects on global warming. Boats full of tourists, hungry to see glaciers

before they melt, travel to this environment, a place that is remote from human life

yet disproportionally affected by its activity. Tourism sites are often a staged and

purified version of themselves showing a neat and fragmented reality. Pyramiden is

like a safari in the Arctic. This unconventional “show”, where science, history and

feeting nature meet, is what I aim to document.

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