"66º 33' North" at You Tube

There is a video short up at You Tube from my Arctic Adventure. Go see it. The back story from "The Fandango" (Vol. 29; 2005-06) follows: Live Art: 66º 33' North is the third installment of a water based environmental art trilogy that includes the 2,367.4 mile Mississippi River swim in the abundance of water and a 40 day Death Valley Desert Fast in the absence of water. Water is a source of life that solidifies, flows or evaporates with its seasons and takes shape according to its container - whether a vase, stream, fjord or glacier. This third work follows water through the changing conditions of the arctic. With the "Swim" video at the Baltic and the "Fast" at the Side Cinema, England proved an ideal launching site for "Live Art: 66º 33' North". On Sept. 5th - Billy and his old friend and patron, Dr. David Christenson, formed an Expeditionary Art Adventure Team and departed Newcastle on board the Princess of Scandinavia bound for the Arctic Circle. An all night North Sea crossing brought them to Kristiansand, Norway where they boarded a series of trains - 5 hours to Oslo, then another overnight to Trondheim and still another 12 hours north to Bodo - and - the Arctic Circle. Mike Fabian joined the crew as they crossed the Arctic Sea to the Lofoten Islands. After 4 days of travel, they took a minibus to the village of A on Moskene for a good night's sleep and then: Sept. 9, 2005: "We have to be very careful making our way over the slippery rocks. It rains so much the rocks - even back from the sea - take on a bit of sheen. We set the flag (a blue t-shirt with transfer) over the ocean harp carrier. Dave took the camera and Mike picked up a GPS reading, Latitude: 67º 52.761' North and Longitude: 012º 59.249' East. I was in a loud blue rain suit and worked my way to the edge of the rocks. The waves crashed about me soaking my shoes. I bent down and caught some of the sea as it crashed against my uniform. The ocean harp joined me for the salt water bath. I could taste it as it dripped from my moustache. The vial of Mississippi almost leapt from my pocket to join the adventure. Vial #46 of 110 collected at Lake Itasca, MN on July 8, 1987 - the first day of my 2,000 plus mile swim. Now, the waters from the Mississippi would join the waters of the Arctic Ocean in the vessel that is an ocean harp and I would have the honor of bringing their song to life. I began percussively with the mallet and words of greeting. The waves clapped against this rocky barrier with a thunderous glee. When I switched to my bow, the waters dripped from its tail. I had hopes it would still sound - and sound it did - until the waters overpowered the artificial cat gut screams. I played on for a time with sound that could not compete with the day. I was exuberant and excited and all was right with the world. I called out for coordinates and Mike called them back. I doubt they are audible - but I know they are there. I've decided, this singular act needs no enhancement. I've simply journeyed - on public transport - thousands of miles for a symbolic moment bringing the "Father of Waters" together with the Arctic Sea - even though I already knew - he was already here." - The Arctic Journal This Arctic Odyssey and DVD emphasize the interconnectedness of systems within our biosphere and how parasitic practices and misuse of the planet's resources impact people worlds away. The journey as performance documents the use of efficient public transportation, even in seemingly remote areas, while entertaining people, creatures and the environment with "live art". The video will be brought home to a culture addicted to excess and show how environmental consequences come back to haunt us all. No where on the planet are the affects of global warming and depletion of ozone more prominent than in the Arctic. In only 30 years between 1960 and 1990, the Arctic ice-floe has decreased in thickness by 40%. (Avg. thickness 3.12 m. 1960; 1.8 m 1990) 1. Pests, like mosquitoes, enjoy the more favorable conditions, while caribou herds and other wildlife decline. This is by no means a new problem, but the continued exploitation of resources, fight for oil and talk - turned to drilling - in the fragile arctic emphasize its timeliness. It's long been known that even the most isolated areas impact the rest of the planet. As far back as 1987, a Laval University study attempted to measure the contaminants in the breast milk of women living in highly industrialized areas. Scientists selected 200 Inuit women as a control group. They lived in small isolated communities on the Eastern Hudson Bay Coastline with sled dogs more common than gasoline engines. Their communities were without industry, yet surprisingly, the women's milk had toxic chemicals five times higher than average. Some levels were the highest recorded anywhere in the world. The pristine Canadian North is at the center of a vortex of poisons discarded by the rest of the world. Its creatures and people suffer as waste repositories for the industrial world without receiving any of the benefits. 2. Pollution from around the globe affects living organisms from the smallest lichens to the noble polar bear. It leads to genetic defects, metabolic changes, reduced fertility, and cancer. It threatens all the people of the Arctic, perhaps even creating an endangered human species. Like the canary in the mine shaft, their health is an indicator for sustainable development. In Arctic Russia, the Mansi don't even reach retirement age and life expectancy for the indigenous people is 20 years lower than that of average Russians. That poses a great moral dilemma. The Arctic's less than 4 million indigenous population is spread over vast distances and has only a small political voice to disuade our greed. When the ice melts, where will the waters go? Deterioration of the Arctic environment creates severe consequences for us all. Sea levels are rising and major ocean currents may change their paths - affecting not only the coasts, but the entire world climate. References: (1. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, "Earth from the Air; Diary 2005", Wecommunic8 Ltd., 2005. 2. Anita Gordon and David Suzuki, "It's a Matter of Survival", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1991.) Live Art: 66º 33' North is a call to action; a call for each of us to become responsible and conserve resources. Dependence on oil is an addiction. We're all addicts. Join the oil anonymous X step program. 1. Reduce; re-use, recycle or die. 2. Turn off lights, electronics and TVs. Don't use standby. Get energy efficient appliances/light bulbs. 3. Conserve water. Use short bursts at the sink. Seal leaks. Full washer loads and front loading machines; landscape with indigenous plants; water wisely. 4. Heating/cooling. Insulate. Check energy suppliers for green plans. Use tax incentives to add solar, wind or other renewables. Return excess energy to the grid. Plant deciduous trees: summer shade; winter sun. 5. Use local, seasonal, organic foods: Cut food travel miles, chemicals and pollution. The same goes for other products. Support locals. Bring bags to shop. Complain about and avoid over packaging. 6. Use public transit; car pool, ride bicycles and walk. Buy greener cars: hybrid, low mileage/No gas guzzlers. 7. Ethical investment. Retirement plans, mortgages, insurance, credit cards and bank accounts are all investments. Invest in green companies. Divest from polluters, arms merchants etc. - Tell them why. 8.Volunteer. Support environmental and charitable groups. Get involved with school boards; local issues. 9. Sustainable tourism. Travel lightly; buy local; be aware: An Average tourist uses a 3rd worlder's 100-day water supply in 24 hours.

1 comment