2049-8128 Opticon1826 2049-8128 Ubiquity Press 10.5334/opt.ca Creative work Antarctica Through The Archive: A Script Gould Polly polly.gould.10@ucl.ac.uk Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, United Kingdom 15 10 2014 16 19 Copyright: © 2014 The Author(s) 2014 This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.

This script explores the act of seeing clearly under special conditions, namely the extreme environment of Antarctica, and the contrasting environment of the archive. The archive is accessed through the watercolours of explorer Edward Wilson (1872-1912) and the photographs of Herbert Ponting (1870-1935). This text is presented as a script for, or transcript of, a lecture on the archival encounter with Antarctica, exposing those subjects that are not immediately visible but none-the-less intrinsic to it. As a transcript of what has already taken place, the text mimics the relation between historical event and archival evidence. As a script for future enactment, the text opens roles to other actors.

This lecture is spoken among the new art works that have been made out of a process of imitation, emulation and distortion in response to watercolours and drawings in the Wilson archive. The two settings include the lecture’s contemporary situations, as well as the historical setting of Scott’s Antarctic expedition hut in 1911, in which lectures were given to educate and entertain the expedition crew. Archival references to the hut lectures include a photograph of Ponting lecturing on Japan with a magic lantern, and also Wilson’s pencil-written notes on the topic of sketching.


Artist Female 35-45. Animated.

Woman in audience Female 30. Enthusiastic.

Englishman Male 60+. Authoritative. Gentle.

Shamisen player Male 20-30. Japanese. Handsome.

Gallerist Female 60. French. Petite. Elegant.

Time The recent past.

Setting Version ONE

The afternoon session of a day-long conference of PhD presentations. ARTIST fusses over the technical set up and waits for the audience to settle after coffee. The room is stuffy and lit with fluorescent lights. There are 60-70 people in attendance. Along the sidewall is the pinboard that ARTIST has temporarily set up, and titled ‘Antarctic Archive.’ It is made of paper, paintings, postcards, drawings, photographs and various ephemera relating to the Antarctic. The room lights are switched off. A data projector hums above, but projects nothing. The moderator gestures for silence and the drone of talking fades.

Version TWO

A Sunday afternoon in summer. Bright shafts of light seep through the shuttered windows of a room on the first floor of a Georgian house converted into a gallery. There are about 40 people in the room. This is the last day of the ARTIST’s solo show.

Downstairs are white ‘ice bergs’ made of moulded glass on occasional tables (Figures 3 and 7), an assemblage of ephemera pinned on a pin -board (Figure 4), pencil-drawn topographic panoramas, and glass globes painted in watercolour (Figure 8).

View of performance-talk Antarctica Through the Archive of Polly Gould giving talk on 16 June 2013. This was part of the solo show called ‘No More Elsewhere’ 17 May to 16 June 2013 at Danielle Arnaud. The image shows magic lantern projection of archive lantern slide featuring hand-tinted advert for Cadbury’s cocoa in the arctic regions, and data-projection image - Ponting, H. G., Sledging. A cup of Fry’s. Feb. 7th 1911. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/222). Image appears by permission of the University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute.

Ponting, H. G., 1911. Herbert Ponting lecturing on Japan. October 16th 1911. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/543). Image appears by permission of the University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute.

Polly Gould, 2013, Suiseki Bergs, [three Edwardian mahogany nesting tables with hand-blown glass]. Dimension of tables, 62x33x25cm, 64x41x29cm, 67x49x33cm. Installation view, Danielle Arnaud, London, May-June 2013.

Polly Gould, 2012 – on going, Antarctic Archive, [found material, printed matter, pencil on paper, watercolour, photographs, inkjet prints, pins, paper clips]. Size variable. Installation view, Danielle Arnaud, London, May-June 2013.

Polly Gould, 2013, Lantern Landscape, [installation with tulip wood, wax, paint, moulded glass, magic lantern projector]. Size variable. Installation view, Danielle Arnaud, London, May-June 2013.

Polly Gould, 2013, Performance view in the room containing installation of the work Lantern Landscape. The image shows data projection Ponting, H.G., 1911. Herbert Ponting lecturing on Japan. October 16 1911. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/543).

Polly Gould, 2013, Suiseki Bergs, [three Edwardian mahogany nesting tables with hand-blown glass]. Dimension of tables, 62x33x25cm, 64x41x29cm, 67x49x33cm. Installation view, Danielle Arnaud, London, May-June 2013.

Installation view at Danielle Arnaud, London, May-June 2013 of work by Polly Gould. In the foreground, Inaccessible Island, 2012, [hand-blown glass sphere, watercolour on sand-blasted glass]. Dimensions 20x55x55cm. In mid distance Observation Hill, 2013, [four hand-blown glass spheres, watercolour on sand-blasted glass]. Dimensions 22x59x72cm. Background Suiseki Bergs, 2013.

In the room upstairs, a magic lantern projects a circle of light onto an installation of wax landscape maquettes. The maquettes rest on tall legged stands raked like miniature stage sets, with moulded glass shapes that cast a scene of shadows and refracted light on the back wall (Figures 5 and 6). ARTIST waits as the audience enter. The sound of a Pianola is heard while people pull up chairs and sit down. Next to the magic lantern, the data projector is activated. An image appears on the back wall of a man leaning over a table with a watercolour painting, box of watercolour paints, and a table lamp. In the background of the image are binoculars hanging on the wall, sealskins, and a flag.1 The tinny sound of Pianola music cuts out.


This afternoon, for a short time of half an hour or so – I don’t want it to test your endurance - I will take you on a short detour through some of my encounters with Antarctica through the archive. Our guide is the Antarctic explorer Edward Adrian Wilson. He was born on 23 July 1872, and died around 29 March 1912, somewhere in a tent between the South Pole and the expedition hut. We trace him through the archive and in the artefacts he left behind - watercolours, sketches and diaries.2 I find that I have, in the process of engaging with the Wilson archive, accrued my own Antarctic Archive (Figure 4). Set out and pinned on a board, it includes hand-made copies of Wilson’s drawings and watercolours and newspaper cuttings, like this.

ARTIST removes magazine cover from the pin-board and hands to a person sitting near. ARTIST unpins some of the assembled papers.


Camping and Caravanning centenary front cover, remembering Scott’s expedition. Scott was their president from 1909 to 1912. The pin is the point of fixture, and the puncture. It creates a perforation that is also the means by which the fragments are assembled. These pinholes let in some light, like the aperture of a camera. In this instance, the photographer Herbert Ponting turned his camera’s aperture towards Edward Wilson as he worked on one of his watercolours in the hut. Wilson was unable to work with watercolour in the Antarctic open-air; the sub-zero conditions made it impossible. He developed the technique of making pencil sketches with colour notations, which he would later work up into watercolours in the comfort of the hut. Here, Wilson is portrayed working in the artificial acetylene light of an Antarctic winter, during his second Antarctic expedition in 1911, some months before the attempt on the pole.

ARTIST hands the box of papers to members of the audience to pass around. ARTIST moves through the audience to the front of the room, talking as she goes.


As I seek to copy paintings of Wilson’s Antarctica, I too am unable to work directly with watercolour, as watercolour paint is forbidden in the archive. I, like Wilson, must work with pencil and annotated colour notes. I copy what I find there, incidentally repeating something of Wilson’s process - the sketch with description - transposing these colourful, limpid, landscapes into annotated pencil lines.

An image is projected showing a pencil drawing of a landscape, with pencil notes in the margins describing the colours of the original watercolour.3 The next image shows Wilson standing in the Antarctic in his waterproofs.4 This is followed by a slide of Herbert Ponting in the snow, looking out at the audience through a pair of darkly tinted glass goggles.5


Scott knew that the production of Antarctic images was of crucial importance with regards to the financial survival of his Antarctic expeditions. Edward Wilson, the watercolour painter, was important to this endeavour. So too was Herbert Ponting, the distinguished professional photographer, and also the lecture circuit that both he and Wilson took part in. Lectures were part of the promotional apparatus of the whole Antarctic venture. Lectures were given in advance as a way to raise money for expeditions, and were planned post-expedition to disseminate the crew’s achievements and raise further funds.

The image of Ponting fades to an interior shot that shows him un-goggled, wearing a suit, waistcoat and tie, and posing with a cuddly toy penguin.6


On his return to the UK in 1913, with the death of his friends weighing heavily upon him, Ponting felt obliged to take part in promotions for the indebted expedition. He travelled around with magic lantern slides derived from photos that he had taken on the Scott expedition.

A screen-grab of a Google Map labelled as Scott’s Hut,7 with a graphic of a red pin marking the spot.


Lectures also featured as part of the expedition’s activities while passing time in the hut. To entertain and educate the crew during the six-month darkness of Antarctic winter, Wilson and Ponting cooperated in setting up some lectures. Scott recalled in his diary, ‘[t]o-night Ponting gave us a charming lecture on Japan with wonderful illustrations. We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening.”8 In imitation of this, I want to see what, of these assembled pieces, will make a version of an educational and entertaining lecture. The talk will comprise some of the things that I have collected during my travels in the archive; trophies, tales, souvenirs, memorabilia, field notes, observations and so on.

A slide depicts the view from inside a canvas tent, from which the folds of the open entrance make a circular porthole framing the view of the mountain ridge beyond.9 Dissolve to image of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition’s ship, Aurora, as framed through the circular cavity of an ice cavern.10


Polar journeys are circular, if successful, and are made up of an outward journey and the return. Wilson’s sledging journal, recording the journey from which he did not return, was written onto the pages of the commercially printed doctor’s diary published by Henry Wellcome in 1910.11 Wilson wrote on the frontispiece ‘THIS BOOK BELONGS TO E. A. Wilson, Sledge Journey to the South Pole 1911-12. IF FOUND, PLEASE RETURN IMMEDIATELY.’ Poignantly, the same diary features an advert for Wellcome products. It reads ‘“TABLOID” Medical Equipments have reached the North Pole and as near to the South Pole as man has gone.’ The advertisement features an image of the globe, with a pin marking the North Pole and another marking the point ‘furthest south’ reached by Shackleton. Around the same time as Scott’s Terra Nova12 Antarctic expedition, there were a number of other national expeditions underway: Australian, German, Japanese, and Norwegian.

The projector shows the Australian ship Aurora13 framed by an ice cave, followed by a slide of the German Deutschland14 and the Japanese Kainan Maru15 on postcards, and finally Fram16 pictured with a dog sled speeding towards the near corner of the frame.


The Japanese team led by Nobu Shirase made a dash for the pole and reached 80 degrees 5 south, but got no further. Amundsen recounts meeting with the Japanese team in his narrative ‘The South Pole’.17 The Amundsen team succeeded in being the first to reach the pole and they successfully returned home. Scott’s party arrived some time later to find Amundsen’s tent and flag. They perished on their return journey.

Three Japanese members of the team are pictured with their heads bowed beside the Japanese flag with the circle of the sun.18 The next slide shows four of the Norwegian party pictured standing in a group, with their gazes raised to the flag above their tent.19 The next image shows four of Scott’s team in disarray around the same tent, as they encounter the evidence of the Norwegians’ priority.20


Antarctica is an unpeopled landscape. Free of natives and women – devoid of indigenous human life – it appeared to offer a tabula rasa for imperial projects of self-realisation. The names of explorers are inscribed upon the topography of the area: Cape Wilson, Shackleton Inlet. It was imagined as empty, silent and white.

An image of Antarctica from a contemporary montage of satellite images viewed from space. The ice-covered land is surrounded by dark blue water.21


In fact, the Great White Continent is more than white, less than silent. Antarctica is often candy-coloured and made up of a strange musicality of noises. The British expedition also imported alien species and exotic sounds. Live music included peddling the Pianola and Ponting’s reportedly bad banjo playing.

A slide of a promotional image from Scott’s expedition, featuring a sled dog approaching the trumpet of a gramophone propped on a case with ‘Scott’s Antarctic Expedition’ written on the side. It mimics the trademark logo of the company His Master’s Voice.22 Sounds of calling penguins, creaking ice and howling wind are heard in the gallery. The image shows Meares seated at the Pianola, dressed in oilskins and boots, fingers in fists resting on the edge of the keyboard and gazing at the perforated paper roll as it turns.23 The sound of a Pianola is heard mixed with the sound of faltering attempts to play some phrases on the banjo. The slide projected on the wall pictures a watercolour of a peaked hill beside a curved bay. The colours are mauve, purple, yellow, and ochre.


As well as missing the sounds of Antarctica, Ponting’s black and white photography failed to communicate the sometimes vivid and varied colours of the continent. Wilson’s watercolours could replicate these colours in translucent washes and repeated studies that showed the effect of changing light on the landscape at different times of day and year. Some of his drawings were even annotated with sounds.

ARTIST moves behind the maquettes and gestures towards one as she names it. It is a small wax model of the watercolour by Wilson that is projected on the back wall.24 The maquette details a small peaked hill, formed in wax and paint in the foreground, which dissipate into formlessness in the background. ARTIST’s shadow is cast on back wall along with the shapes of the wax landscapes and the larger glass forms that refract the light into patterns. The glass forms are reminiscent of icebergs and are similar shapes to the piece on show downstairs titled Suiseki Bergs 2013 (Figures 33 and 7). These small white opaque blown glass bergs rest on the polished surfaces of mahogany Edwardian occasional tables, creating a miniature scene of domesticated natural grandeur. They reference the Japanese version of Scholar’s Rocks, in which a particularly intriguing or aesthetic rock is placed on a carved plinth and enjoyed as an aestheticized and miniaturised version of a mountainous landscape.


Observation Hill’ was visible from the Hut, the expedition headquarters. Wilson made many studies of this same view, in changing colour palettes. Antarctica is aesthetically picturesque at the periphery. The vacant centre challenges this: an aesthetic hole in the middle a blank available for projection. It is a vast, featureless plateau. The interior of the continent thus presents an anti-aesthetic, or anaesthetic.25

ARTIST assembles a home projector screen between the lantern and the maquettes. The slide on the screen shows Wilson sitting outside the tent and sketching the mountain range in the background.26 This dissolves into a black and white view of a circular image with a white spot, suggestive of imaging of the retina.27 The next slides dissolve from a saturated colour image of a Wilson watercolour to a pencil-drawn landscape to white out.28


Journeying into the interior, one loses familiar subjects of artistic contemplation. Colour is obliterated in black-out or white-out, shapes are obscured, distance is hard to determine, one’s own breath coats the paper in ice. Combined with these challenges to vision is the sheer physical effort and endurance required to draw, or paint, in freezing conditions in which one risks frostbite or snow-blindness. Together, Ponting and Wilson discussed their efforts to depict the Antarctic environment. Wilson was taken on as a Junior Surgeon on his first tour between 1901-1904, and as Chief of Medical Staff in the Terra Nova expedition of 1910-1913. Ponting was the expedition’s photographer and cinematographer. In the polar party, Wilson personifies both the painter and the surgeon.

The audience are all looking at the screen as ARTIST pulls up the next slide. A black and white image appears. Some small gasps are heard. A woman in the audience covers her eyes. The slide shows a man dressed in surgeon’s garb, propped up in a bed of white sheets, looking down into the open cavity of his own abdomen. Surgical tools are lined up alongside him. He is engaged in a surgical operation. He has a scalpel and scissors in his hand, and his fingers are holding back the folds of open skin.29


The Russian Leonid Rogozov, stationed at the Russian Antarctic base between 1960-61 had to make a journey into the interior of another sort, by performing a self-appendectomy. Rogozov was the only doctor stationed at an Antarctic base at the start of the winter season. He was quite cut off from the outside world. Rogozov realised that he would have to avoid the fatal consequences of a perforated appendix by self-operating. Here, featured in an article in the British Medical Journal under the Anaesthetic section, his son, now a consultant anaesthetist, recounts the event.

ARTIST gestures to a paper print out of the journal article that she hands to an audience member. Slide of Wilson sitting outside his tent, his back to the camera, sketching on the Beardmore Glacier with the mountains extending across the full width of the frame.30


Wilson’s journey to the interior was not surgically introspective, but aimed at the interior of Antarctica as an expedition to the pole. On his final travels, he made drawings of the Beardmore Glacier and kept a sledging diary.

Slide of Wilson entering the tent on his hands and knees, with his backside sticking out of the entrance.31


This was written on pages of the Wellcome’s Medical Diary and Visiting List that Wilson took with him to the South Pole.32 Wilson’s entries end with empty pages, which are then followed by advertisements. Henry Wellcome was in the Victorian habit of collecting the world into a display. He used the salesmen from his pharmaceutical empire as his ‘in-the-field’ buyers of ethnographic curiosities. This sledging journal was found with Wilson’s frozen body in the tent in which he perished. The covering of the same tent was put on display as part of an exhibit at Earls Court in 1913, on a patch of fake snow, amongst glass display cases.

The image of Wilson crawling into the tent fades to a tinted paper leaflet advertising ‘Souvenirs of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13’, published in London in 1913.33


What published transcriptions of Wilson’s sledging diary do show is the way that Wilson’s writing was written over this manual of medicine. His writing was thus interspersed with promotions for Wellcome products and decorated with motifs from Maori culture.34 Wilson’s pencil writing and sketches are juxtaposed with illustrations of ethnographic figurines and explications of the Manuka of Whakatane, as a Maori medicine man and poet.

The data projector shows one of Scott’s sledging teams stopping for a cup of Fry’s hot chocolate. The ARTIST pushes a lanternslide into the beam of the magic lantern to reveal a hand-tinted image depicting a polar crew drinking Cadbury’s cocoa ‘in the arctic region’(Figure 3).


Wellcome was one of the many sponsors who supplied the expedition and who, in return, expected his brand to be associated with Scott’s Antarctica. Promotional material potentially was to be photographed and circulated in the form of a magic lantern show. Whether the product was cocoa, watercolour paint, or pharmaceuticals, standards of purity and global reach were of the utmost importance.

The next slide depicts a magic lantern show from the Antarctic Expedition of 1909-1913. Ponting, in a hat, is in the foreground on the right, operating the lantern. The bright beam of light projects over the heads of the seated men, who all have neatly cut hair. The screen is whited-out through overexposure, presenting a blank spot at the centre of the image, towards which all eyes are turned.35 ARTIST steps in front of the screen and addresses the audience with some papers in hand.


Now, I would like to replicate this scene (gestures to the slide image) with a little audience participation. I need a man’s voice. (Pause). If you are a man, please raise your hand.

There is a little laughter as men consider whether they wish to identify as men. Some comments are made. Approximately half the audience raise their hands.


Thank you. And keep your hand up if you are descended from, or related to, an explorer of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

All raised hands are now lowered.


Oh dear.

A young woman raises her hand to get ARTIST’s attention.




I've been there


To Antarctica? Great. How did you go? As an explorer?


On a cruise to the peninsula.


No, sorry. Tourism doesn’t count.

There is some laughter as the woman is dismissed.


Let’s try something else. Of all the men, can those of you who are Englishmen please raise your hand?

There are now two men with their hands raised - a man in his late twenties or early thirties, and a man in his sixties. ARTIST choses the older man.


Would you like me to stand?


Yes, please.

ENGLISHMAN stands at the front of the room, in front of the screen with the photograph of Ponting at the magic lantern. ARTIST steps up to the actual magic lantern and unwraps some pieces of coloured glass the size of lanternslides.


I am asking this Englishman to speak the words written by Wilson. The first extract is from his diary and the next is from pencil notes he made towards a lecture on sketching that he prepared for just such a talk.36

ENGLISHMAN starts to read in a slow, compelling voice. ARTIST has squatted down out of sight to give the floor to the ENGLISHMAN.


Thurs 27 April 1911. All day painting again. We have made a list of lectures for the winter – 3 evenings a week. I am down for 5 – Birds, Whales, Seals, Penguins and Sketching.’37

The ARTIST positions herself in the beam of light from the data projector that is showing the image. The image still depicts the expedition members listening to a lecture by Ponting and looking toward a blank screen. The ARTIST stands so that the image of the blank screen illuminates her mouth, neck, and the coloured neck-scarf around her throat. As she speaks, she casts a silhouette on the back wall.


What I read now is an extract from my field journal notes, written after an archival visit to the Scott Polar Research Institute. Cambridge, July 12 2012, 9am. – ‘In the Archive. Tea by the bell from the ship of the Terra Nova expedition.

A bell chimes.


‘20p for coffee, put it through the slot on the head of the Penguin piggy bank. Naomi says that the Ruskin cabinets are still here, but not in use. “They are very nice” she says,“but don’t conserve sufficiently.” Temperature and light. She also says that “Winsor & Newton may be sponsors – must seek in archive – ephemera is a good place to look – paper cuttings and magazines?” The sign on the front of the plastic folder holding the archive material advises to bring a jumper or cardigan, as it is cool in the reading room. It is at a similar temperature to the stores.’

ARTIST puts on a cardigan and moves out of the light, restoring the image of Ponting giving his lecture in the expedition hut with a magic lantern. ARTIST opens a set of coloured glass slides and pushes it across the light beam of the magic lantern projector. The colour of the room is shifted into pale washes of colour, in yellows, greens, blues and pinks.


Notes toward a lecture on sketching – ‘Sketching, in a country such as this, which has been seen by a very small number of people who are likely to see the sketches brought home, it is obviously out of place to swing off too freely on the imagination. Therefore a real artist, that is, an imaginative “painter-fellow”, would be wholly out of place here. What is wanted here is a copyist. If he is what is called artistic so much the better, but only because he will then have some idea of what, amongst the innumerable things before him, is representable in a picture – that is, of what will make a picture.’38

The ARTIST stands again and moves into the circle of projected light from the data projector, which still shows the image of the lecture in the hut. The blank screen shines on her neck and throat as she speaks, illuminating the bright colours of the neck scarf.


‘Scott Polar Research Institute. Cambridge, July 12 2012, 1pm - There is a man here dressed as a woman – a member of staff. A nice grey cardigan a grey bob, and skirt and court shoes. Floral pattern. Light fabric. Beige stocking legs. The whole physique is out of kilter, sinewy calves, narrow hips and broad shoulders. I spoke to her over tea. He is the museum curator. And helped to redesign the new museum space. I tell her that I used to go to school round the corner and I also say that I never came into the Scott Polar Research Institute all the time that I was there, even though I must have walked past it every day. He explains that the entrance on Lensfield Road has not been like that for so long and that the dedicated public museum space is quite recent. The door used to be much less inviting round the side of the building, and the opening times were limited and irregular. I feel justified that it was not just a failure of my youthful curiosity that stopped me visiting, but more of an architectural and structural impediment to entry. She is describing the interesting earlier situation of display of the Wilson watercolours in a gallery with animal skins on the floor and mahogany panelling. It’s interesting regarding the imperial feel of these artefacts as trophies from afar but as this man, dressed as a woman, is talking I find myself quite distracted having noticed that we are wearing very similar neck scarves.’

The ARTIST moves out of the light and stands behind the magic lantern. She lifts it and redirects the beam in a slow movement that enlarges, shifts and distorts the shadow landscape on the back wall. ARTIST positions the projection so that the tall glass berg on the Lantern Landscape obliterates the view of Ponting. His figure is replaced with an obelisk-shaped shadow filled with refracted light (Figure 6). What remains to be seen in the image is the lantern, the view of the empty projection screen and the back of the men’s heads.


‘In other words, aim at accurate drawing. Next if one ever hopes to sketch anything properly I am sure one must get into the habit of always remembering to try and see things as they are and not as we think they ought to be – not merely of looking at things casually, or even of only beginning to look at them when one begins to sketch – but of always trying to see contrasts, gradations in light and shades, and of trying to analyse colours, and to see where one begins and another ends and why the same hill, for instance Observation Hill looks so totally different at onetime and another.’ ‘Drawing requires observation. Ponting to say something re. Japs and their art/ imitative and imaginary.’39

During the ENGLISHMAN’s previous speech the slide of the men in the Hut looking at the screen, changes extremely slowly: the previously blank screen is gradually filled by an image (Figure 2). Almost imperceptibly slowly, the image comes into view of a Japanese women in traditional dress. She is playing the shamisen – a three stringed instrument comparable to the banjo.40 The sound of music can be faintly heard. The lecture ends. The audience claps. GALLERIST opens the door of the room and invites the audience to exit.


Thank you. Please join us outside in the garden for tea and cakes.

The audience files out. The music heard in the gallery continues to emanate from a room downstairs. The music was not recorded but is coming from the room directly below where the lecture has taken place. Although the lecture has ended, the performance is not over. The archway upstairs that framed the wax maquettes, the projected images, and the documentary image of Ponting lecturing on Japan, in the room downstairs frames a handsome young Japanese man playing the shamisen (Figure 9). He sits in a chair and holds the instrument across his lap. The room is full of ARTIST’s mirrored glass globes that reflect miniature watercolour landscapes. Each of the paintings is a composite copy of two or three of Wilson’s watercolours (sutured together according to aesthetic fit rather than topological truth). The landscapes are like inverted panoramas that are re-assembled in the reflection in the mirrored globes creating an illusion of space and distance not visible when looking directly at the painted glass. The blown glass globes rest on white plinths. The audience crowds in behind these glass pieces to listen to the music. The SHAMISEN PLAYER wears black jeans and a white shirt with a pencil thin black tie. He has a red cloth across his thigh, and he strikes the strings with a stick. He plays three fast, beautiful, discordant pieces. The last he introduces as his own composition, combining sounds of the traditional Japanese shamisen with Irish folk tunes.

View of performance-talk Antarctica Through the Archive, by Polly Gould at Danielle Arnaud, 16 June 2013. Hibiki Ichikawa plays the shamisen amongst the glass globes with watercolour landscapes. In the foreground Observation Hill, 2013, [four hand-blown glass spheres, watercolour on sand-blasted glass]. Dimensions 22x59x72c.

Polly Gould’s research is funded by the AHRC. Thanks to Danielle Arnaud and Hibiki Ichikawa for contributing to the performance from which this script is derived.

This is the Herbert Ponting portrait of Edward Wilson (Ponting, H G 1911b).

Archival material related to Edward A. Wilson can principally be found in three archives; the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge; The Royal Geographical Society, London; and The Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, Cheltenham.

Pencil drawing of landscape with hand-written pencil notes in the margins, made by author with reference to Wilson watercolour as seen at Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (Gould, P 2012).

Another portrait by Ponting of Wilson on his return from the Southern Journey, 1911 (Ponting, H G 1911d).

Ponting poses in a self-portrait with his film camera (Ponting, H G 1912b).

Ponting poses in a self-portrait with cuddly toy (Ponting, H G 1913).

This image of Scott’s Hut can be found on Google Maps. Using the person icon, it offers the experience of moving through the inside of Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans, Ross Island (Scott’s Hut, Antarctica).

Quoted in National Geographic on ‘Rare Pictures’. See here for further images taken during the Terra Nova expedition (‘Rare Pictures..’).

This image was taken by Frank Debenham (Debenham, F 1912).

Taken by Frank Hurley on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, December 1913 (Hurley, F 1913).

The original diary is written on the pages of this Wellcome diary and is held at the British Library. Scott Polar Research Institute holds a Xerox facsimile (Wilson, E A 1911-12).

Ponting’s dramatic picture of the Terra Nova (Ponting, H G 1911a).

Taken by Frank Hurley (Hurley, F 1913).

A picture postcard featuring the German South Polar Expedition 1911-1913 (Sachse Bros. of Buenos Aires 1911).

A picture postcard featuring the Kainan Maru in Wellington Harbour, during Japan’s first expedition to Antarctica (Joseph, Z 1910).

A picture of the Amundsen expedition with the dog sledge coming towards the camera and the ship Fram in the background (Amundsen, R 1911a).

Amundsen describes meeting the Japanese and sharing some conversation in English in his book The South Pole (Amundsen, R 1912).

Nobu Shirase is pictured with two of his fellow expeditioners (Nobu, S 1912).

The Amundsen team salute their national flag at the South Pole (Amundsen, R 1911b).

The British team look dismayed as they encounter Amundsen’s tent (Ponting, H G 1912a).

This composite view of Antarctica presents the white continent in a sea of deep blue (Pape, D 2006).

This image refers to the brand logo of ‘His Master’s Voice’ which, in turn, was derived from a painting by Francis Barraud 1899 of his late brother’s dog listening to the voice of his deceased master on a phonograph (Ponting, H G 1911c).

The pianola is played by Cecil Meares (Ponting, H G 1912c).

This is one of the many paintings that Wilson made of Observation Hill, a small hill that offered a scenic view from Ross Island (Wilson, E A 1911a).

Susan Buck-Morss in her October 1992 essay ‘Aesthetics and Anaesthetics: Walter Benjamin’s Artwork Essay Reconsidered’ writes, “Walter Benjamin discusses the surgeon and cameraman (as opposed to the magician and painter. “The operations of both surgeon and cameraman are nonauratic; they “penetrate” the human being; in contrast, the magician and painter confront the other person intersubjectively, as Benjamin writes, “man to man.”(Buck-Morss S 1992).

This panorama was taken by Scott as the polar party went on alone, having left Ponting and other expedition crew at earlier depots. It is taken on the Beardmore Glacier. It consists of two images that are sometimes shown melded together into one panorama (Scott, R F 1911).

Author’s image derived from scan of retina taken during optometrist examination, 2013.

Author’s own drawing made in Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, of Wilson watercolour with written colour annotations (Gould, P 2012).

This account is given by Vladislav Rogozov and Neil Bermel, 'Auto-Appendectomy in the Antarctic Case Report',in the British Medical Journal, 2009. It is also referenced by Peter Sloterdijk, in the third of his Spheres Trilogy, as an example of the always double nature of the subject ( Rogozov, V. and Bermel, N 2009. & Sloterdijk, P 2004).

Wilson’s tent. Variation, panorama, made by Ponting from Scott’s original negative (Scott, R F 1911).

This image gives a clear idea of how fragile the tents were (Morrison, J D 1904).

Wellcome’s Medical Diary and Visiting List, 1910, included information, sales adverts and illustrations drawing upon Wellcome’s ethnographic interest (Wellcome’s Medical Diary and Visiting List 1910).

Souvenirs of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913. Brochure published in London, December, 1913 (Souvenirs of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913).

Winsor & Newton the manufacturers of art materials, were Scott’s sponsors too and provided Wilson’s watercolours and were similarly concerned with the chemical consistency and standardisation, and global reach of their pigments.

This image is titled ‘Herbert Ponting lecturing on Japan. October 16th 1911’. The summary text reads: In the interior of the hut, Ponting stands at a projector mounted on a tripod. Expedition members sit in chairs in rows in front of the screen. Sleeping bags hang from the ceiling (Ponting, H G 1911e).

Edward Wilson, Notes for a Lecture. 1910-1913. Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession: MS 1225/1-3. All excerpts of ‘Notes for a Lecture’ appear by permission of the University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute (Wilson, E A 1911b).

Edward Wilson: Diary of the 'Terra Nova' Expedition to the Antarctic 1910-1912 (Wilson, E A 1972).

Edward Wilson Notes for a lecture. As above (Wilson, E A 1911b).

Edward Wilson Notes for a Lecture (Wilson, E A 1911b).

This image is the same as the previous in which the screen is blank but Ponting has added the image of a Japanese lady to the previously empty screen. Ponting had to do this in the darkroom as a post-production effect as the image could not be captured in situ without either overexposing the screen or underexposing the surrounding audience (Ponting, H G 1911f).

Amundsen, R 1911a Fram ved iskanten i Hvalbukta. I forgrunnen sitter en mann pa en slede med hunder foran. Transporten av proviant og utstyr til leiren inne pa isen foregikk pa sleder. 1911. [Photograph]. (Collection: Roald Amundsen Picture Archive; Norwegian National Library, Oslo. Accession number: Amundsen/NPRA1415). Amundsen, R 1911b [Photograph] (Collection: Roald Amundsen Picture Archive; Norwegian National Library, Oslo. Accession number: Amundsen/NPRA1415). Amundsen, R 1912 The South Pole: An account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "Fram", 1910-1912. London. John Murray, London. Buck-Morss, S 1992 Aesthetic and Anaesthetic. October, Vol. 62. (Autumn, 1992), pp. 3-41. Debenham, F 1912 Mount Gondola from Gondola Ridge. [Glass plate negative] (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Debenham Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P54/16/411). Gould, P 2012 Drawing with written colour annotation after Wilson [pencil on paper]. Artist’s collection. Hurley, F 1913 A glimpse of the Aurora from within the cavern wall of the shelf-ice of the Mertz Glacier Tongue, Commonwealth Bay, Adelie Land, Australiasian Antarctic Expedition, December 1913. [Photograph](Collection: National Library of Australia. Accession number: nla.pic-an23478533). Joseph, Z 1910, 1867-1965 Sailing ship Kainan Maru, Wellington Harbour, during Japan's first expedition to Antarctica. Dickie, John, 1869-1942: Collection of postcards, prints and negatives. Ref: PAColl-3037-1-18. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. Available at http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22350186 [Last accessed 19 September 2013]. Morrison, J D 1904 Dr Wilson entering his tent at Cape Royds. [Print]. (Collection: Antarctic Relief Expeditions 1902-04; Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2007/24/1). Nobu, S 1912 Nobu Shirase (centre) and his "Dash Patrol" salute the Emperor with a traditional Banzai ceremony under the Japanese flag. 1912. (Collection: Shirase Antarctic Expedition Memorial Museum, Nikaho). Pape, D 2006 Antarctica, An Orthographic projection of NASA’s Blue Marble data set, 5th October 2006, Wikepedia Commons, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Antarctica_6400px_ from_Blue_Marble.jpg [Last accessed 19 September 2013]. Ponting, H G 1911a Beautiful broken ice, reflections and Terra Nova. Jan. 7th 1911. [Glass plate negative] (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/1572). Ponting, H G 1911b Dr E.A Wilson working on a sketch. 1911. [Glass plate negative] (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/402). Ponting, H G 1911c Chris and the gramophone, 1911. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/1176). Ponting, H G 1911d Dr E.A. Wilson on return from the Southern Journey. April 21st 1911. [Glass plate negative] (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/386). Ponting, H G 1911e Herbert Ponting Lecturing on Japan. October 16 1911. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/542). Ponting, H G 1911f Herbert Ponting lecturing on Japan. October 16th 1911. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/543). Ponting, H G 1912a At The Pole, 1912. Variation made by Ponting from original photograph taken by Henry Bowers. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/1443). Ponting, H G 1912b Ponting with his cinematograph. 1912. [Glass plate negative] (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/825). Ponting, H G 1912c Cecil Meares at the Pianola in the Winterquarters Hut. 1912. [Glass plate negative]. (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005. Ponting, H G 1913 Ponting and penguin. [Glass plate negative] (Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection); Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/1405). 'Rare Pictures: Scott's South Pole Expedition, 100 Years Later', National Goegraphic, (2012) Available at http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2012/01/pictures/120117- scott-south-pole-anniversary-hundred-years-science/ [Last accessed 15 September 2013] Rogozov, V and Bermel, N 2009 'Auto-Appendectomy in the Antarctic Case Report', BMJ, 339 (2009). BMJ 2009; 339 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4965. Sachse Bros. of Buenos Aires 1911 German South Polar Expedition 1911-1913, Real photographic picture postcard showing the ‘Deutschland’, sent by expedition leader Wilhelm Filchner to the Minister for Finance, D. Leutze, in Berlin, dated Dec. 10 1911 bearing Falkland Islands 1d. stamp. Available at http://www.grosvenorauctions.com/dyn_pages/historic_sale_summary.php?Main_category_code=Falkland%20Islands/Antarctica&page=6 [Last accessed15 September 2013]. Scott’s Hut, Antarctica. Google Maps. Available at https://maps.google.co.uk/ maps?expflags=enable_star_based_justifications:true&ie=UTF8&cid=27176685173268 61684&q=Scott%27s+Hut&iwloc=A&gl=GB&hl=en [Last accessed 19 September 2013]. Scott, R F 1911 Wilson’s tent. [Glass plate negative] British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Ponting Collection). Scott Polar Research Institute. University of Cambridge. Accession number: P2005/5/1708. Variation, panorama, made by Ponting from Scott’s original negative. Sloterdijk, P 2004 Sphären: Plurale Sphärologie III Schäume, (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp), pp.82. Wellcome’s Medical Diary and Visiting List 1910 (Collection: Wellcome Library; London. Accession: WF/M/PB/003/23). Wilson, E A 1911a Observation Hill from Hut Pont, [w/c on paper]. (Collection: Edward Wilson; The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Gloucestershire, UK/ The Bridgeman Art Library. Accession number: CHE 379249). Wilson, E A 1911b Notes for a Lecture. 1910-1913. Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Accession: MS 1225/1-3. Wilson, E A 1911-12 1 November 1911 to 27th February 1912 [The sledge Journey to the South Pole] Accession: MS 1043:BJ & MJ Journal. Xerox. Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. Original; Edward Wilson Sledging diary 1911-1912, British Library, London. Accession: MS 47459. Wilson, E A 1972 Diary of the 'Terra Nova' Expedition to the Antarctic 1910-1912. London, Blandford Press, 1972.


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