The beating heart of the planet: imaging Antarctica (2019)
Antarctica poses unique challenges to creative artists seeking to convey its majesty and importance. It lacks most of the visual elements usually found in landscape paintings and photographs making the establishment of emotional hooks difficult. At the same time, the dominant narratives about climate change and the environment are not working. Even people who recognize the threat are not yet sufficiently emotionally engaged to significantly change their behavior. Antarctica has the potential to become a powerful climate change icon. The challenge is to motivate individuals to relate to climate change in a way that will change their behavior. That means broadening the narrative about Antarctica beyond “it’s a big, empty, windy, pristine cold place dedicated to peace and science” to include “why it is important to us”? This paper consists of a series of creative non-fiction essays written for a general audience. The first recounts the author’s struggle to convey an emotionally engaging image of Antarctica. The second uses a braided form (then and now) and a collection of images to tell the story of her engagement with Antarctica. The Third consists of a series of Flash non-fiction essays – each 100 words long – and photographs that seek to personalize the icy continent by recounting the history of man’s engagement with Antarctica from Antartica’s point-of-view.
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