Black Snow

Joachim Koester, Message from Andree, 2005

Salomon August Andrée was a Swedish polar researcher and adventurer who wished to cross the North Pole in a hot air balloon. Unfortunately, the balloon crashed north of Spitsbergen on July 14, 1897, and Andrée with his crew, Nils Strindberg and K. H. F. Frænkel, started an exhausting trek across the pack-ice. Nils Strindberg was the expedition’s photographer and took more than a hundred pictures during their 3 month journey. The negatives were found only 32 years later, when the remains of the expedition were discovered on White Island just off Spitsbergen.

Joachim Koester has re-photographed these with a 16 mm film camera. The result is an animated film showing the stains etched into Strindberg’s negatives during their Arctic incubation. The film installation does not document what happened in a traditional sense; rather it points to the twilight zone of what can be told and what cannot be told, narrative and non-narrative, document and error. A psychic reality suggested by immaterial “black snow” that appears on the film.

While listening to : David Maranha, Antarctica (side B)