The North has been a reservoir of imaginary potential: raw, stable but uninhabitable, the antithesis of Home. In the face of global disruptions those imaginings are dissolving and challenging presumptions about Home and Away. What are the responses, returns and re-imaginings to this shift?
The Far North has been a reservoir of imaginary potential in which modern subjects might regenerate and reinvigorate, tapping into the power of raw, frozen Nature. Extreme, always on the edge of crisis, always threatening to crush attempts at subjugation, the North was configured as inhospitable and uninhabited. And yet such was its magnetic pull that those in more moderate climes were drawn either vicariously or in actuality to experience and tap into this energy. The relationship of "man" to the North has been defined broadly in three modalities:
Man in the North- a masculine, colonizing narrative in which North is both direction and destination.
People of the North - an ethnographic and evolutionist discourse in which local populations are configured as living as part of the landscape, tied to the narrative of "vanishing races."
Humanity and the North - an environmental discourse that today shakes the stability of existing narratives.
Despite this fact that the North has long been a frontier and a source by which the "center" found definition by contrast, the lived realities of this imagined wilderness tell a different story; one in which the inhabitants moved, worked, and established homes -- temporary and permanent. How are those formerly evacuated and silenced able to negotiate and inhabit the narrow space between old and new narratives? In the face of global disruptions the Arctic imaginings are dissolving and challenging major presumptions about Home and Away, Nature and Culture, Stasis and Change. What are the responses, returns and re-imaginings in this shift?