Miami New Media Festival Edition XIII
3400 NW 78th Avenue
Doral, FL 33122
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Ninety Degrees North (90N)
On June 29th, 2008, Xavier Cortada arrived at the North Pole (90N) to create ritualistic installations addressing global climate change and the melting polar caps.
North Pole Dinner Party: One of Cortada’s performances included a ritual where he fed his fellow travelers aboard a Russian icebreaker pieces of ice he collected at the North Pole, thereby integrating the North Pole into their very being. “I figured that if they ingested a piece of the North Pole, it would become part of them.” said Cortada. “The North Pole water molecules would be swirling through their bodies. The North Pole atoms would be incorporated into their very cells. My sense was that after having North Pole communion, they would protect the North Pole. If nothing else, they would do so for self-preservation.”
Arctic Ice Paintings: Cortada also taped pieces of paper to the top deck of the icebreaker. He then placed North Pole sea ice and paint on the pieces of paper. As the icebreaker made its way south from 90 degrees North, the ice melted and created his Arctic ice paintings. The North Pole works also included the reinterpretation of his 2007 South Pole (National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program) “Longitudinal Installation” and “Endangered World” ritualistic installations at the Earth’s northernmost point, and the launch of Native Flags, a participatory ecoart project to engage others in reforesting the world below. Cortada created art at the extreme ends of the planet to address issues of global climate change at every point in between.
As the Arctic Melts
Ten years ago, Cortada’s ice breaker easily pushed through the then-thinning polar ice, surprising the crew at its early arrival in the North Pole. Arctic warming has since continued melting sea ice at frightening speed: “Within two decades” stated the artist, “I may be able to repeat the journey on a sailboat, because scientists tell us the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free during summer. Global Climate Change will not just melt the Arctic, it will irrevocably change the world below.
“I bring this exhibition to the people of Florida to draw the alarming connection between the Arctic and our peninsula,” said Cortada. “Melting ice will have catastrophic effects across our state and weaken the Gulf Stream. Arctic warming will lead to sea level rise, more coastal flooding, prolonged heat waves, relentless rain, stalled tropical storms, extreme weather and more intense fire seasons.”