Friday, June 14, 2013

Capturing Alert

Sit back, go "full screen" and enjoy a preview of Charles Stankievech's photographic odyssey filmed at CFS Alert, the world's northernmost permanently inhabited outpost.   The images are truly astonishing.


Kev said...

Very cool. Here's something shot a little further south but amazing as well Aurora

Elliott Taylor said...

I am having trouble understanding the context. It plays like a clip for a science fiction thriller. Art needs no justification of course, but I do not understand why the trailer is trying to evoke a sense of foreboding? It conveys nothing to me about the wonder of the high arctic. Certainly it is a mysterious, even desolate place for most of us, but why make it a spooky place?

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Kev. Thanks for the link. Spectacular. The aurora is still my best recollection of the two stints I had in the north as a young man. The "full sky" effect you really only get when you're well north.

@ Elliot. I know what you mean. I think the photographer was trying to capture the almost alien character of the very far north where the snowscape can resemble the surface of the moon or Mars. Being up there in winter must be somewhat like being in space.

the salamander said...

.. wondrous work .. illuminating .. original ..
Canadian Docu at its best & most contemporary ..
Humbling n startling to watch .. even frightening
but that's Canada eh .. !
This country inspires me ..

karen said...

Mmm. All those stars in the beginning! I grew up on 20 acres in a rural area quite far from any serious light pollution. The sky was so full of stars and we saw a lot of aurora. And it was not as desolate as Alert looks, but the winters were so silent and beautiful.

The Mound of Sound said...

I can understand how some can see this as dark and foreboding, almost depressing, while others can see this as serene, beautiful and inspiring.

How many of us in our increasingly urbanized life have actually had the opportunity to gaze into a clear night sky completely free of any light pollution? Apparently the denizens of Toronto got that very experience a few years ago when the eastern power grid went down. To them that must have seemed utterly magical.

In my sheltered back yard I have limited light pollution - some, but not very much. In July and August we get a good many nights with clear Pacific air overhead and I love to spend a half hour or more just reclining out there watching meteorites, satellites and the International Space Station.

Gazing into the heavens recalibrates our microscopic insignificance and, somehow, that realization brings me a little more peace.

karen said...

I remember a moment when I was perhaps 4, laying in my snowy front yard in a snowsuit, listening to my friends playing and knowing it was nearly time to go in for the night. In the winter here it gets dark (DARK!) by 4:30, so it needn't have been late, but it was dark. The sky was like dark blue velvet, which was a thing I probably thought at the time because I learned to sew very young and had a bunch of velvet scraps to play with. The stars were much more visible than they are now from my more or less urban home. I remember laying there and looking at the sky, like a giant bowl over the earth and being aware of the vastness of that sky, and then a moment later of the infinite smallness that was me. I still can feel how breathtaking that was in that moment. I have always felt that that moment was nirvana, and it was the most peaceful one of my entire life.

Anonymous said...

The trailer is exactly that, a seducing tease. For context in art it is best to look at the complete body of work from an artist, which in this case is about military colonisation of the arctic, and here expressed in the popular language of sci-ficition that the general population understands with abandoned space stations where military scientific experiments have gone awry like in Solaris, Even Horizon, Space Odyssey, etc. some interviews and articles here: