Welcome to Antarctica (2009-2010)

The Welcome to Antarctica series was made in 2009 and debuted at The David Apuzzo Photography and Art Gallery in Hamden, CT.

The Oct. 9th show featured paintings from the series.

Welcome to Antarctica has a couple very prominent themes running through it. The series takes place in a fictional Antarctic landscape. A Bermuda Triangle of sorts where planes crash and strand survivors alone. The plane theme was heavily inspired by the Chuck Palahniuk book Survivor. In the book, the narrator hijacks a plane with the intent to fly it in the ground and kill himself.

There are only patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns. If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself. What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher. what we can’t understand we call nonsense. What we can’t read we call gibberish. There is no free will. There are no variables. ― Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

The theme of Antarctica is drawn from the song The Cold Part by Modest Mouse.

So long to this cold, cold part of the world / So long to this cold, cold part of the world / So long to this bone bleached part of the world / So long to this cold, cold part of the world / So long to this salt soaked part of the world / I stepped down as president of Antarctica / Can’t blame me, don’t blame me, don’t / So long to this sad, sad part of the world

“The whole theme of the series is about going through manic swings but mainly focusing on the depressive side of the pendulum. The awareness of the dichotomy and the realization of where your mind was headed. The plane was going down.” – DE – Welcome to Antarctica Promo

Throughout the history of my work the use of “Towers” has been a recurring theme. When I was in high school I somehow weasled my way out of swimming in gym class. There were a couple of us who wound up not swimming that year. We were supposed to use that time sitting in the bleachers next to school pool to do school work. I usually drew and a buddy of mine in the class would usually read something. He started reading a book about an LSD study in which it recounted the experiences of the various subjects of the study.

Each person in the study was given a dose of LSD and reported back on their personal experiences. I would usually prod my friend to show me what he was reading and he handed over one chapter about a man who described being inside a large tower. Each floor of the tower had windows and he said that with each floor he ascended in the tower he could see further. He was describing this not as a physical view, but a deeper view into his own self.

I found this metaphor wildly beautiful. It became a permanent fixture in my visual language. In Welcome to Antarctica the metaphor was seen with planes crashing into it. With the plane being an awareness and the tower being a mental tool to gain insight. The decent into a depression comes with an awareness. You can feel your own emotions freezing up on you. This whole series was about avoiding hypothermia.