The Arctic was never considered a place for women. Throughout history, women have been deemed unfit to deal with the challenges that come with an isolated life in the wilderness. Non-indigenous people to the Arctic have long conceptualized the polar region as a barren, inhospitable landscape where only the toughest of men could survive. Built into this affirmation of the adventurous and engineering nature of men is the systematic refusal of women into the arctic world.
At the same time the Arctic has traditionally been gendered as feminine in the Western world. Initially, it was regarded a region to be conquered and penetrated. Whereas this view has shifted in post-colonial times, the Arctic is still conceived of as feminine and is now collectively imagined as a barren, ‘virgin’ land in distress, in need of our protection. By imposing on it an identity as an object of desire, this one-sided and simplified view is not aligned with reality.
The project Only Barely Still aims to propose a different narrative of the Arctic and its collective imaginary. By standing on the axis of two misconceptions – about the Arctic and the women in it – it wants to respectfully capture their synergy.
(2017 – ongoing)