artist Xavier Cortada planted a replica of a mangrove seedling
in the South Pole.* The mangrove "seedling"
was be planted on the 3
km thick glacial ice sheet that blankets the South Pole.
Embedded in the moving glacier, the "seedling"
is now begin
sliding downhill (9.9 meters every year) in the direction of
the Weddell Sea, 1,400 km away. The "seedling" has thus begun its 150,000 year journey towards
the seashore, where it can eventually (theoretically) set its roots.
(PLEASE SCROLL DOWN to see
photodocumentation from the South Pole.)
The 150,000 Year Journey uses the
terrain of the South Pole to address a sociological concern
of the artist:
the travails of an immigrant's
journey --- the displacement, the solitude, the struggle to
simply integrate oneself into society.
In a more universal way, the 150,000
Year Journey explores humankind as it evolves through time.
will take almost 150,000 years for this art piece to be completed.
What will our world look like then? Will humans still be
focused on race and ethnicity by the time this mangrove
seedling lands in the sea? Will our world be dramatically
different, will the polar caps have melted?
How much will such melting shorten the journey?
Through the 150,000
Year Journey, the artist also invites viewers to reflect on
our role as humans on this planet. Juxtaposing Antarctic time
frames with human time frames (see
the notion that we are simply custodians of the planet who
should learn to live in harmony with nature.
(* The seedling will be a replica
because exotic species can not be introduced into the
continent. As such, the artist will create an ice sculpture
made using a mold made from an actual Miami mangrove
seedling. Water from a deep South Pole well --that makes
water by melting ice created back when Shakespeare was writing
Hamlet-- will be poured into the mold, where it will freeze