Expedition to exhibition, the making of 'High Arctic'

See how United Visual Artists' immersive installation - inspired by an expedition to the Arctic - came together
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Matt Clark, Sunset (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

1 / 24 Matt Clark, Sunset (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Ice (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

2 / 24 Matt Clark, Ice (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Iceberg (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

3 / 24 Matt Clark, Iceberg (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Icy Landscape (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

4 / 24 Matt Clark, Icy Landscape (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Mist (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

5 / 24 Matt Clark, Mist (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Reflected (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

6 / 24 Matt Clark, Reflected (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, The Norderlicht (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

7 / 24 Matt Clark, The Norderlicht (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Polar Bear (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

8 / 24 Matt Clark, Polar Bear (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

9 / 24 Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

10 / 24 Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Whale Tail (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

11 / 24 Matt Clark, Whale Tail (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

12 / 24 United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

13 / 24 United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

14 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

15 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

16 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

17 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

18 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

19 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

20 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

21 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

22 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

23 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

24 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Matt Clark, Sunset (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

1 / 24 Matt Clark, Sunset (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Ice (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

2 / 24 Matt Clark, Ice (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Iceberg (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

3 / 24 Matt Clark, Iceberg (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Icy Landscape (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

4 / 24 Matt Clark, Icy Landscape (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Mist (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

5 / 24 Matt Clark, Mist (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Reflected (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

6 / 24 Matt Clark, Reflected (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, The Norderlicht (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

7 / 24 Matt Clark, The Norderlicht (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Polar Bear (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

8 / 24 Matt Clark, Polar Bear (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

9 / 24 Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

10 / 24 Matt Clark, Reflections (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

Matt Clark, Whale Tail (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

11 / 24 Matt Clark, Whale Tail (2010), Cape Farewell Expedition, Svalbard

United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

12 / 24 United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

13 / 24 United Visual Artists, The columns for High Arctic in the fabricator's workshop (2011)

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

14 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

15 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

16 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

17 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

18 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

19 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

20 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

21 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

22 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

23 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

24 / 24 United Visual Artists, High Arctic (2011), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK


In September 2010, a group of scientists, poets, musicians and artists, including Matt Clark from the art and design practice United Visual Artists (UVA), travelled to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard with the art and climate science foundation Cape Farewell.

The result of the expedition is High Arctic an immersive installation of thousands of white columns throughout the gallery space at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, which are covered by constantly shifting light patterns that react to visitors and the ultraviolet light torches they are given to explore the work (until January 2012).

Here, in this gallery, you can see some of the photographs Matt Clark took during the Svalbard expedition which directly influenced the final outcome of the installation.

"To be in a small space for a few weeks during such an extraordinary journey has been very inspiring," Clark told Phaidon. "The expedition was meant for us to learn from each other and, although at UVA we work with our preferred tools and we have our own aesthetic, the way the expedition has affected this installation is directly visible."

The installation features a soundscape by Max Eastley and Henrik Ekeus which flows through the gallery featuring the voices of Arctic explorers and the poetry created by fellow traveller Nick Drake in response to the Svalbard expedition.

"The voices and sounds are an important part of the narrative, focusing on Arctic expeditions throughout human history and telling the story through other senses," explains Clark.

The interactive installation draws the visitor in to physically engage with the work; it is this abstracted interaction which parallels the way humans influence and change the Arctic and asks visitors to leave with a higher regard for their actions.

 

Sally Ashley-Cound


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