Tate Talk at Tate Modern
15 Dec 2015 Polar Beers
I work as an artist, author & activist - lecturing in both the arts and politics. My work is multidisciplinary, cross platform and socio-political. My last book was Text-Me-Up! It is based on saving every single text message I had ever received from the very first in 1999. I work in the UK and different countries across the world often with disaffected peoples, communities and places caused either by conflict or nature. I have been selected as Artist in Residence for the expedition to the Pole of Inaccessibility. Constantly archiving and obsessed with documentation I also chase the weather visually recording the smallest of changes. Therefore this expedition to the Pole of Inaccessibility focusing on scientific findings addressing Climate Change appealed greatly. Growing up with a keen interest of the North West Passage I was influenced by many of the great depictions of Arctic expeditions in particular John Everett Millas' 1874 painting 'The North-West Passage'. When asked to work on findings in the Polar Regions for the second time (the first I had to decline as I had a young family) I enthusiastically jumped at the chance, knowing this opportunity would probably never reveal itself to me again.
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Poem by Robert Frost
The Ice Warrior Expedition
Founded by Jim McNeill
Patrons of the Expedition
Sir Ranulph Fiennes "When Jim approached me with a brief note hinting of a 'large ambitious but realistic' polar project in the offing he left me with little idea as to what it was all about. But three things grabbed my immediate attention. 'Polar', 'World Firsts' and the fact that this was a British effort. During my first conversation with Jim, I was impressed by his quiet confidence and solid enthusiasm. Since then I have come to learn of the determination, dexterity, skills and knowledge of Jim and the crew behind the project and am delighted to be associated with them. Ice Warrior has all the potential of a truly great British First. Slightly mad and eccentric in conception, thorough and precise in planning and likely to prove ingenious and resolved in execution. I wish Jim and his team the very best of luck in their endeavours."
Micheal Palin "Learning to travel the hard way is not only the best way, but it's also the most memorable. I greatly admire all of you for having a go - believe me you won't forget the experience. Good luck."
Alexandra Shackleton "My grandfather, Ernest Shackleton, is always identified with "White South"; yet in 1920 he was planning an expedition to a white north. He intended to seek out the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Beaufort Sea which Shackleton referred to as mare incognita and terra incognita. However problems with finances meant it was too late to go north in the season so he went south. He dies at the outset of that expedition. Nearly a century later, Jim McNeill of Ice Warrior is planning his third attempt on the Pole of Inaccessibility. The terrain is exceptionally hostile and dangerous; but I am confident that Jim and his team will be successful not only in reaching the elusive pole; but in conducting an environmentally vital transect of the Arctic Ocean; for as Ernest Shackleton Said "difficulties are just things to overcome". (1907)
Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE "To Jim and all the Ice Warrior Team.I know how hard training can be, but push on, you will find it is worth it
Zac Goldsmith MP "Jim and his team are not only undertaking an extraordinary Great British endeavour in the true, traditional sense of the phrase, but they are doing it with genuine purpose. The data they'll gather will deliver new evidence as to what is really happening and further our understanding of the sea-ice and its effect on climate change. I'm delighted to support them and wish them well. Best wishes and best of luck!"