Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Svalbard - An Arcticficial Life

Nick's Limo  @ Julia de Cooker

Svalbard – An Arcticficial Life by Paris-based Julia de Cooker, born 1988, a French/Dutch photographer, educated at ECAL, the School of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland, portrays an archipelago in the very north of mainland Europe.

According to Wikipedia, Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole, was until 1925 known by its Dutch name Spitsbergen.

What do people do in such a remote place? How do they make a living? When, in 1596, the Dutch seafarer Willem Barentsz arrived at these islands, they became an international whaling base and also a point of departure for expeditions to the North Pole. And then there was also coal mining. Nowadays, the city of Longyearbyen, once known as a mining town, features hotels, restaurants and the University of Svalbard, founded in 1994, one of the most renowned places for the study of Arctic Science, I understand.

Julia de Cooker writes: „About two thousand people from more than forty countries live in the city. They take advantage of the special status of Svalbard, which allows them to live there without visas or working permits.“ This is pretty exceptional indeed and I would have very much liked to discover as to why that is – yet the book doesn't provide such information. I would also have appreciated to learn about the personal views of people living there, about their motivation to choose life in such a remote part of the planet etc.

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