PYRAMIDEN


Pyramiden is a place perpetuated by it’s own myth, the abandoned Russian settlement lies at the furthest North at 79 degrees latitude in Svalbard, Spitsbergen. The abrupt departure of its inhabitants has been questioned repeatedly as not one account is consistent to the other. The place itself conveys a strong sense of ‘presence’ considering that traces of human life and memory remain. This work includes audio recordings per image of what the inhabitants of Svalbard thought caused the departure of the people living in Pyramiden. The audio account with Cantina #4 includes: ‘(Pyramiden) is believed to be a strange portal to an unknown civilization, there is an image taken of this portal with a Russian inscription that says ‘Our last solemn moment before burying the gate and with him the whole truth’, it was taken in Pyramiden in 1928’, so the place itself is just a facade to the real reason why Pyramiden became a settlement’. The audience will be surprised to listen to inconsistent accounts of the abrupt departure and ‘purpose’ of the settlement as he/she moves along the images in the series. This work attempts to convey a place which has shaped itself through the beliefs that people have implicated upon it, and the reasons as to why Pyramiden has been abruptly abandoned remains unknown.



cantina_01

Cantina #1 Audio account
‘Why are you asking about Pyramiden? It’s a sad story. No one likes to talk about it, you especially can’t with the remaining residents. It started as a beautiful town…. paneled cantinas, wonderful balls in the Culturhaus, football matches behind the swimming pool, even the cinema is beautiful. They have a boardwalk too, it’s such a lovely place’

(4 second silence)
‘You know there was an accident in the coal mine, and then it was just one disaster after another, there was a plane crash too… and all the women and children….’
(exhale)

‘This is not a beautiful story, you shouldn’t be asking.’

Title: Cantina #1
Year: 2013
Medium: C-Print on Archival Paper
Size: 135 x 180 x 5
Edition: 4 + 1AP

cantina_03

Cantina #3 Audio account
‘This place, this place was built in the grandeur of the Soviet era, this is the ideal socialist town. It was the northernmost Cold War front, an eager access point for Russian settlements in the North. The Arctic holds good reserves to explore, it was a popular frontier to have a claim on. Maybe for other reasons than coal and marble. You know they imported grass from Siberia? There’s also the bust of Lenin in front of the Culturhaus… very imposing on a plinth. They have as much rights as the Norwegians do, or any citizens in other states included in the treaty, this is probably why they stayed even though everyone left, they are worried the place will be taken over by the Norwegians, or the French. No, they don’t want this to happen, even though there’s nothing left.’

Title: Cantina #3
Year: 2013
Medium: C-Print on Archival Paper
Size: 135 x 180 x 5
Edition: 4 + 1AP

cantina_04

Cantina #4 Audio account
‘What do I know about Pyramiden?…. it’s believed to be a strange portal to an unknown civilization, I know this because there is an image taken of this portal with a Russian inscription that says ‘Our last solemn moment before burying the gate and with him the whole truth’, it was taken in Pyramiden in 1928’, so the place itself is just a facade to the real reason why Pyramiden became a settlement. Have you seen the mountains surrounding Pyramiden? It’s why the place is so mystical, the structures themselves seem like a monument from a different world. The Soviets had interest in what is now called Noetic sciences, I’m pretty sure they found something very special there, why would they be there otherwise? Things may not have gone to plan though, or at least according to the governing parties, everyone left in such a hurry. It’s very sad.’

Title: Cantina #4
Year: 2013
Medium: C-Print on Archival Paper
Size: 135 x 180 x 5
Edition: 4 + 1AP

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