The Frozen Ship
Cross-cultural stories in Greenland
A collaborative artistic creation in the heart of the Arctic
A boat, a crew and 11 artists from different backgrounds isolated for 3 months in the middle of the ice, sharing a common goal.
Ever dream of traveling up there, way up there, to the middle of the ice, at latitudes beyond the Polar Circle? Living and creating in extreme conditions? Meeting and spending time with local artists, hunters and fishermen? This is the ice-ccentric adventure that the boat Le Manguier offers ten or so artists from various backgrounds.
Living in our age and time, must we get caught in the vicious spiral of systematic, destructive hyper-consumerism? No! This is the driving force of the cross-cultural stories we seek to portray. To show that we can create, come up with new solutions and adapt to new conditions, while being true to ourselves, to our group and to our natural environment.
Eleven artists of different nationalities and backgrounds will live together from February to April 2017, aboard the boat Le Manguier, in the midst of the ice off the Greenland west coast. They will live and work in taxing conditions, in the omnipresent cold and dark, where the familiar loses its hold and learning to live in harmony with nature becomes a must.
How does the overheating of the Far North affect the culture and environment of the Greenlanders? The artists, through their work, their points of view, their interaction amongst themselves and with the Greenlanders, seek to answer this question.
The common thread of this gathering will revolve around the founding legends of the Far North, as a tribute to the Danish writer Jørn Riel and his work, published in France by Gaïa Editions
Greenland is definitely changing; the ice is certainly melting and huge financial interests are looming over its mineral resources. We cannot just stand and watch the destruction of this one-of-a-kind Arctic universe. Now is the time to act, not just think! And since art touches us like nothing else can, we chose this medium to add a poetic and sensitive dimension to the scientific studies, awareness-raising measures and preservation projects that have already brought the Arctic problem to the fore.
Dostoevsky captured our ideal with his words: “Beauty will save the world”
Polar ice, northern wildlife and Inuit culture may soon be no more than a memory, and these losses are a sign of changes that threaten the rest of the planet.
It is therefore crucial that we bear witness to the striking beauty of what is at stake!
Many readers have seen Greenland and its inhabitants through the eyes of one of the most famous writers of the Far North, Jørn Riel. Our project is a tribute to Riel, who not only made us dream, laugh and cry, but also educated us about the changes these territories have undergone, territories which, not so long ago, were still preserved in their wild beauty. The harsh and simple way of life in the Arctic brought him indescribable joy, leading him to conclude that the race for progress is futile. He experienced the Arctic and he wrote about it. Shouldn’t we, like Riel, try to make a difference through art?
So let artists create in this threatened environment. Let them share their feelings, each in his own medium, to bring a testimony of this rapidly changing world. A testimony from and for the heart.
From 2003 to 2006, major work was done to convert Le Manguier into a small exploration vessel. The back deck was fully removed in order to construct a large, 430ft2 living area surrounded by passageways.
In 2009, the tugboat was fitted with masts and sails in order to reduce its diesel consumption and CO2 emissions.
But the Manguier is above all a great human adventure, bringing together people from all ages and backgrounds, facilitating exchanges between scientists, fishermen, artists, seafarers; young or old. And most of all, making dreams come true!
Since 2004, the Manguier has sailed more than 40’000 miles (75’000 km), including a circumnavigation of the Arctic. Since 2015, the Manguier has been sailing mainly in Greenland.
The Manguier is also, and perhaps first and foremost, a state of mind, one born of curiosity, exchange, sharing, discovery and enthusiasm.
Embarking on the Manguier broadens your horizons, makes your senses come alive, hones your observation skills and enhances your perception and intuition. It makes you see the world and the people in it in a different light, sparking imagination and creativity. In short, it helps you become a human being in the best possible sense!
More than a hundred people sailed in the Manguier since its restoration: students from Bastia, Douarnenez or Dillingham; fishermen from Tunisia, Ireland, Alaska and Canada; artists, scientists, Orthodox pilgrims … all curious people who, for the most part, became life-long friends.
These activities resulted in the creation of a non-profit organization, Le Bateau-Givre (The Frozen Ship), whose main goal is to manage the “Artists in the Arctic” project. This association was founded in April 2016, to clearly distinguish the artists’ residency-related activities from the other activities of le Manguier.
The Manguier is wintering in the middle of the ice on the west coast of Greenland, in the bay of Kaasarfik (68°42’37.2”N – 52°45’50.9”W), 5 kilometres off the little town of Aasiaat.
The wintering location, far from the city, will enable the artists aboard to be totally immersed in nature, yet be close enough to the city to exchange, share and create with Greenlandic students and artists.
There is no doubt that this is a one-of-a-kind adventure, and the selected artists are aware – or at least we hope they are! – of their extremely harsh – albeit exciting – living conditions. Due to the very low outside temperatures (-40°C), there will be no running water on board. The nearest cell phone and internet connection will be 5 km away from the boat. And living together in a small confined space can be quite challenging. So here we are: a small microcosm lost, all the way up there at the end of the world.
The number of artists aboard at the same time will not exceed 3 people, to allow everyone to have a comfortable living and working space. Two crew members will stay on board to take care of the artists in residency. Each group will stay 3 weeks. The first group will arrive in early February, at the end of the polar night, and the last group will leave in late April, when the sun stays almost permanently above the horizon.
Three-week residencies will be organized from February to April 2017:
- 7 – 27 February
- 7 – 27 March
- 4 – 24 April
Artists’ presentation sheets are available. Click on the artist’s name to download the sheet.
writer and traveller
Karin will start writing her opus when the polar night begins on November 28 and will end when the sun appears again on January13. It will take place in the port of the modern city of Aasiaat, and then in the timeless natural environment of the secluded cove of Kaasarfik. Workshops will be held with the students of Aasiaat High School to create a playback of French and Greenlandic voices, speaking and singing in their native tongues.
painter and plastic artist
Cécile draws and paints in a symbolic and figurative pictorial style and will seek to create and reflect the meditative mood that immediate immersion in the surrounding nature inspires. She will also conduct a painting workshop with school children on a theme related to their cultural identity.
illustrator and silkscreen artist
Claire’s creations will explore the universe of Inuit tales and legends through exchanges and discussions with the Greenlanders, with theater associations, museums, etc. Her writings will then be illustrated by local artists and/or artisans, using a mixed aesthetical approach while remaining faithful to the atmosphere of these tales and the regions they talk about.
plastic artist, sculptor
Starting with an extensive archive of the sonic environment of this remote location, Emilie’s project will culminate in installations of temporary imagined structures upon the frozen ice, generating an exchange of labour with the local industry or craft group, in an attempt to learn, teach and share skills specific to this location.
photographer and engraver
Benjamin will keep a travel diary throughout his stay, on which his creative work will be based. It will be a combination of writing and drawing (watercolor, painting, pencil) that will lead to a series of prints on plexiglass and copper. He will also prepare a photographic report that will capture the mood and atmosphere of the Arctic environment. Workshops, combining different painting techniques, will be organized with the Aasiaat High School students, culminating in a collective creation.
Florence will produce a work of visual art based on ephemeral sculptures and highlighted by sound recordings in the sea ice. These sculptures will be the result of a collective construction and will be animated by light effects staged in collaboration with the public.
All Antoine’s projects will enrich and complement each other and will evolve depending on encounters and residency constraints. They will superimpose themselves and intermix to transmit and recount the specific atmosphere of the icebound Arctic.
illustrator, motion designer
Béatrice plans to work on a series of illustrations and/or animations illustrating, in a quirky and funny way, the daily life of the residency. She is also planning a workshop on animation and illustration techniques with the Aasiaat High School students, related to the writing projects led by other artists in the residency.
musician, author, composer
He will compose original songs inspired by his full immersion in this silent environment and will hold a workshop to co-write the lyrics to these songs with the Aasiaat High School students.
photographer (Hans Lucas Agency, France)
She embarked on the Manguier in 2016 during its trip from Quebec to Greenland and met with the inhabitants whenever the Manguier came into port. On the Greenland coast, she lived in total immersion with them and was able to produce an exhaustive and sensitive photographic documentary on this unique but mostly human adventure.
In order to provide a real cultural exchange, several types of partnership and interactions have been planned:
- young Greenlandic artists will come on board and work in creative pairs with the artists in residency.
- part of the artists’ time will be devoted to the organization of local events or workshops together with local associations and the Aasiaat High School students.
- We plan on a mini-concert, with the boat as the stage, or a two-voice poetry reading (in Greenlandic and French.). Or the construction on the sea ice of an Inuksuk (stacked blocks of ice in the form of a human being). The Inuksuk was originally a kind of stone cairn with different functions. This will be a collaborative undertaking, with the local people and the artists. It will symbolize both how fast the ice is melting and how our society has lost its bearings. One of the functions of the Inuksuk was its ability to regain its bearings. Therefore, its disappearance caused by the melting of the ice will highlight the result of our mistakes.
- We will also participate in local cultural events which have already been planned in March in Aasiaat: the Ice Sculpture Festival and the Great Dog-Sled Race.
The works produced by the artists during their residency may culminate in one or more collective works (exhibits, shows, publications, etc.), mixing diverse perspectives and approaches and different means of expression.
The goal of this unique residency is to share the experience with the general public.
Several promotional activities are planned following the residency to unveil the artistic work by our resident artists and their local partners. For now, the idea is to disseminate the work through lectures, video projections, ephemeral installations whose common thread revolve around the tribute we wish to pay Jørn Riel, the writer who inspired this project. However, the final form of this restitution will depend on how the project and the artistic creations evolve throughout this unique residency, one which places great emphasis on partnerships and encounters. Ideally we should be able to organize an exhibition and/or a travelling show of the personal and collective works produced during the residency.
Prior to the residency
- Presentation of the “Frozen Ship” project, launched in summer 2016 on Le Manguier’s website and on social networks, with live coverage of project developments:
- Participation in radio broadcasts to promote the residency:
- 11/12/2016 – Interview of Philippe Hercher on France Bleu RCFM
- Publication of articles in the press (printed and web-based):
- 17/06/2016 – Le Bateau-Givre : l’appel à embarquer (Embarquements)
- 01/12/2016 – Le Manguier – Appel aux dons (Embarquements)
- 08/12/2016 – Une résidence d’artistes dans les glaces groenlandaises (Mer et Marine)
- 11/12/2016 – Pris dans les glaces du Groenland (Sud-Ouest Dimanche)
- 21/12/2016 – Des artistes givrés (Voiles et Voiliers)
- 28/12/2016 – Une résidence artistique au Groenland (Sud-Ouest)
- 01/01/2017 – Ils vont relever des beaux défis en 2017 (Presse Océan)
During the residency
- Daily updates on the Manguier’s website (project development, life on board, events and updates on creative work)
- Whenever possible, participation in live radio or television broadcasts.
After the residency
- As a first step, organization of film screenings, lectures and ephemeral installations
- Publication of some of the creative work in a specialized magazine.
- Funds permitting, writing and publication of a book presenting of the works of the artists in residence
- Production of a movie, recounting the residency, to be directed by Jens Rafaelsen, working for KNR (the national public broadcasting corporation of Greenland)
Project steering committee
The project was conceived and launched by Philippe Hercher, captain of Le Manguier, and a steering committee was set up by the Association «Le Bateau-Givre» (The “Frozen Ship” Association) to oversee its implementation. Several individuals will provide assistance during the exchanges with Greenlandic artists, school visits and meetings with local inhabitants.
Captain of Le Manguier, Head of Logistics
Head of Partnerships and Fundings
Partners and sponsors
Gaïa Editions was created in 1991 and specializes in Scandinavian literature. It has published French translations of Jørn Riel’s work, which can now be enjoyed by French-speaking audiences.
Hans Lucas is a production company where information and creation meet, specializing in photography, digital and transmedia storytelling. It uses the latest technology and works with a large network of authors and artists.
The story of Lestra began in 1914. It started out as a leather and down manufacturer, specializing in the manufacture of pillows and duvets. A partner of the biggest expeditions for over 40 years, the Lestra brand is unanimously recognized by top level explorers for its exceptional reliability.