The outside view of the Arctic is of a place of mythic notions and proportions. Many consider it wild, remote, and untouched, unattainable—a place only few would occupy by choice. It is the place of the Aurora, polar bear, narwhal, 24-hour light and 24-hour darkness, ice, and other things that seem fantastical, romantic and mysterious. The North has long been a land of dreams, realized and unrealized, attracting explorers, scientists, and artists.
View From Up Here: The Arctic at the Center of the World is an international contemporary art exhibition that highlights contemporary investigations into the Arctic through the perspective of artists. The exhibition conveys a complexity of place and people through film, photographs, installations, and sculptures that highlight Arctic cultures, landscape, scientific research, and visions of the future.
Despite its mythology, the Arctic is not a land untouched. It is a place of human life and human imprint. The people of the Arctic include Indigenous people, who have adapted to the Arctic for millennia, recent arrivals, hunters and herders living on and with the land, and city dwellers. The inside view of the Arctic is a place of adaptation, complex landscapes, and diverse people. It is the opposite of nothingness.
“North” is relative to each point and perspective. The Arctic, however, is north of everywhere. Home to some four million people, the limits of the Arctic are difficult to define, but the primary parameter is the cold.
This exhibition presents both inside and outside views of the Arctic—both the Alaska Arctic and the Arctic that is international and borderless. Although the artists are from Alaska and from northern and southern places around the world, each shares an interest and investment in the North, in how humans respond the landscape, and in how the changing landscape requires a view to both the past and the future.
Participating artists include: Nicholas Galanin (Alaska), Anna Hoover (Alaska/Washington), Jeroen Toirkens (Holland), Derek Coté (Michigan), Marek Ranis (North Carolina), Christoph Kapeller (California), Paul Walde (Canada), John Grade (Washington), Magali Daniaux and Cedric Pigot (France), Mary Mattingly (New York), Annesofie Norn (Denmark), Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson (Iceland/England).
The Anchorage Museum’s atrium is a gathering space for engagement, offering interactive activities, mobile libraries, and furniture that resembles Northern landscapes. Visitors are able to experience the North through technology, readings, films, visual imagery and food.