Stellar Axis: Antarctica
The Stellar Axis land art project is currently being deployed in Antarctica, to be completed for the Southern hemisphere Summer Solstice on 22 December 2006.
Perhaps the largest and most ambitious arts project to take place in Antarctica, Stellar Axis is the work of the internationally known, Los Angeles based artist, Lita Albuquerque, and is sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and US Antarctic Programme.
The concept is to mirror the southern constellations through the placement of 99 blue spheres on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
Albuquerque - a pioneering member of the first generation of Earth artists - executes her works in vast expanses of deserts around the globe. This work will be her largest to date, and is derived from her interest in archaeoastronomy. Envisioned as phase one of a two-part project, it will be completed at the North Pole by symbolizing a shaft of starlight aligned with the rotational axis of Earth.
This ephemeral artwork will be a major extension of her commitment to develop a visual language that addresses the realities of time and space: A modern art version of ancient astronomical sites.
With the guidance of the NSF, the installation will be fulfilling the stringent environmental constraints in Antarctica while highlighting the connections between art, science and mapping.
Text by Sophie Pegrum, photos by Jean de Pomereu