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The Aurora Project

How can we envision a sustainable future for the Arctic?

September 16–October 15, 2009

With The Aurora Project, New York Prize Fellows Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno (Future Cities Lab) presented an index of shifting territorial resources in the Arctic, creating a speculative vision for a massive new energy infrastructure and settlement pattern. As an innovative spatial representation of an imminent environmental condition, The Aurora Project investigated how contemporary political, social, and ecological trends might be channeled toward a more productive future for the region.

Three related installations comprised the project: “Aurora” connected the ephemeral qualities of the Arctic ice field with the dynamic behavior of its viewers, translating the shifting dimensions of the ice into an immersive system of flickering auroras and responsive luminescent skins. “Terra Incognita” was a map room consisting of original drawings, diagrams, and other materials that provided a view into how the Arctic region has been represented, claimed, and mythologized in the past and present. A smaller interactive instrument, “The Glaciarium,” engaged visitors’ senses through the sight and sound of a melting ice core. Johnson and Gattegno led a panel discussion on October 15.