Passing Place


Points of departure.

Lofoten, Orkney and the Baffin Islands are all places balancing on the edge
of global capitalism. These islands also have several coinciding historical streaks. While developing Passing Place we seek inspiration from a series of incidents that have been documented along our route: the Viking expeditions to Vinland (their name for North America) in the Middle Ages, the disasterous Franklin expedition in 1845, the search for the Northwest Passage and the road to China as well as the hunt for riches and fame in the Polar Regions.

Because of the peripheral geographic position of these places, they create excellent platforms for reflection on and investigation into the writing of contemporary history. The islands are connected by themes of great global importance economically and ecologically. They all possess great natural resources and are overwhelmingly beautiful.  What makes them unique is what imperils them as the last bastions against the final totalizing of the global shopping mall.

In these almost mythological surroundings the local communities are confronted on a daily basis with questions concerning the international oil and gas industry, recession and destruction of the local fishing industry, vulnerable ecology, increasing tourism and the relentless destruction of shores and ocean due to global warming. In these places the questions about sustainable energy and life on the planet are as palpable as they are unavoidable.

Since 1911 we have perhaps become instead of a nation of shop-keepers, a global shopping mall which makes the idea of being an explorer nostalgic or hopelessly quaint at best.  However, as the shopping mall (i.e., global capitalism) begins now to show its seams and seems less an inevitable reality and more and more each day like perhaps the greatest ponzi scheme ever.  When we mark economic ‘growth’ only by what we spend and never put into the minus column all we lose in natural resources, global climate control or even time with our families and friends, when nothing anyone does for free (raising children, volunteer work, countless hours creating artistic work or working on political campaigns) is counted as ‘productive’, we have set ourselves up for a crash of global proportions.  Perhaps the crash which we are watching now gives us, as artists proposing this project, an opportunity to become true Explorers again, to look for something which has not been discovered or has been known all along and over-looked in favour of the dubious glitter of consumerism.  So here we are again in the realm of the 'explorers' seeing where this time the seams of global capital are showing, where the exit routes might be and if we can FIND something even more important than a Northwest Passage to China or wherever but a passage to Where Next...