The Arctic Trilogy, 2010-2011
Janet Biggs – Brooklyn, USA
Janet Biggs’ Arctic Trilogy is comprised of three short videos, each featuring an individual searching for meaning at the end of the earth. Isolated and vulnerable, the characters in Biggs’ videos struggle to define and defend their sense of self in extreme environments.
Fade to White follows a solitary explorer as he paddles his kayak through ink-black waters, gliding past polar bears and under massive glaciers. These images are interspersed with ghostly appearances of performance artist John Kelly dressed in white, singing a Baroque aria. Kelly’s age, androgyny, and mournful voice parallel the vanishing Arctic landscape.
Brightness All Around takes us beneath the earth’s surface where coalminer Linda Norberg, works in freezing temperatures and relentless darkness. Biggs has enlisted performer Bill Coleman, dressed in black leather, to deliver a demonic chant to complement the hostile, industrial sounds of the mining.
In the Cold Edge follows a spelunker as he descends into a glacier’s crevasse and crawls through claustrophobic ice tunnels. We follow his path as he explores the disorienting chambers formed by an ever-moving glacier. The video ends with a momentary eruption of colour and energy as Biggs shoots a flare off into a terrain as bleak and beautiful as the moon.
Janet Biggs is known primarily for her work in video, photography and performance. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has had solo exhibitions/screenings at the Musee d’art contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum; Tampa Museum of Art; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Mint Museum of Art among others. Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America, and many others.
Location: Scotia Plaza, 15 Adelaide Street West