The first Ice Station Quellette show asked visitors to imagine they had stepped into a museum in the year 2151, in a parallel universe earth that escaped total annihilation from climate change. The museum was celebrating the centennial of the ISQ team's arrival on their planet, and subsequent triumph against the forces of industrial destruction.
“It would be accurate to say that Lauren Oliver, the artist and designer of Ice Station Quellette, is an explorer and adventurer herself,” wrote Diane Armitage in THE magazine about the show at Phil Space. “Weaving elements of the real and the fictional into a carefully orchestrated and complex whole.”
Styled as a boutique museum, the exhibit was set a century in the future, a centennial exhibit commemorating the arrival of the Ice Station team to their world. The show featured digital photography, paintings, digital art, sculpture and a lifesize space owl. It included three distinct galleries:
- Disjecta Membra, a highly impressionistic and manipulated survey of early expeditions, in the context of current environmental degradation and international conflicts and competition for resources, against the vast, astonishing beauty of the polar regions, depicted in imagined landscapes. The original version of the Santa Fe Institute show.
- The Invisible Wild, a portrait of the intricate ecosystem that sustains climate balance, from the tiniest sea algae to massive sea-going mammals, all under threat from industrial fishing and pollution.
- The Last Ice on Earth, focusing on the background narrative of the ISQ team, how they escaped their dying world and tried to save their new home, as well as the discovery of the strange, brooding aliens – the Mimizuku Samurai, the silent defenders of earth.
“She bends all the information to her will," continues Armitage, "elegantly compresses it, and then centers it on the realities of our spinning planet-at-risk with its melting glaciers, shrinking ice sheets, rising sea levels, and the intimations of imminent disaster for humanity, However, if the artist’s prognosis for the future of our world seems severe, one can always get lost in her fabulous wealth of images that touch upon not only what can be seen at the poles with the naked eye – whales, birds, clouds, fog, ice – but what lurks under the surface of the water – zooplankton and phytoplankton, another kind of organic formal beauty, and part of a delicate balance in the food chain rapidly going awry.”
THANK YOU TO Nicole Lewin, Jamie Hart and Anika Murray and to the skills, generosity and creativity of Geoff Banzhof, Chris Collins, Tuscany Wenger, Ann Jag, Jake Snider, Peter Weiss, Keith Wilkinson, Tony Hassett, and Laura Steward.
Thank you to Diane Armitage for writing such a beautiful, thoughtful review of the show in THE.