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Endurance: The Polar Studies

An exploration of the beauty within the fragile Polar environments

Inspired by first-hand accounts from Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to the Antarctic, Dominic Harris’ Endurance: The Polar Studies transports the viewer to extreme regions of frozen beauty inhabited by wild creatures. Endurance explores humankind’s impact on these polar landscapes through our direct interaction with the artwork via movement and touch. Weaving an interactive narrative across four scenes, each screen of Endurance studies unique features of the Arctic and Antarctic environments. The vantage point of the viewer shifts from a god-like view of Mount Hope to the atmospheric depths below the ice shelf.

When Shackleton set off aboard Endurance, he began an extraordinary adventure of human survival within a beautiful but also alien and dangerous environment. Reading from the crew’s journals, Harris discovered moments of awe against a backdrop of fear. Above all, what struck him was the sheer vulnerability of humans when faced with the unrelenting power of nature. Endurance now looks to the present day, where human industry remains a constant, destructive force threatening the polar environments. Though, in Harris’ ever-optimistic depiction of the world, nature regenerates itself and the viewer’s human intervention reveals the magical experience of certain remarkable, natural phenomena.

"The endurance was one microsomic spec, 100 feet long and 25 feet wide, embedded in 1 million square miles of ice that was slowly being rotated by the irresistible clockwise sweep of the winds and the currents of the Wedel sea.   Early in May, the sun appeared over the horizon for the last time, then slowly dropped from sight and the arctic night began.    It did not happen all at once, gradually diminishing dusk grew shorter and less intense each day.   For a time, a hazy deceiving half-light remained, and the stark outline of the ship could be seen against the horizon.   But it was difficult to perceive distances.  Even the ice underfoot grew strangely indistinct.   But before long, even the half-light disappeared and they were left in darkness and the arctic winter began."
extract from the book “Endurance” (1956) by Alfred Lansing

"It was now light, 24 hours a day.  The sun disappeared only briefly near midnight, leaving prolonged magnificent twilight. Often during this period the phenomenon of an ice shower caused by the moisture in the air freezing and settling to earth lent a fairyland atmosphere to the scene, descending in sparkling beauty throughout the twilight air."
extract from the book “Endurance” (1956) by Alfred Lansing


Edition of 8 + 2 Artist Proofs + 2 Museum Proofs (per canvas size)
Four scenes. Available on either single or mulitple screens.

Code, electronics, computer, 4K touch display, sensors, aluminium

Dimensions in MM:
(per canvas)

Medium Format (65 inch)
1019 (W) x 1644 (H) x 205 (D) mm

Large Format (86 inch)
1302 (W) x 2132 (H) x 180 (D) mm

Dimensions in INCHES:
(per canvas)

Medium Format (65 inch)
40.1 (W) x 64.7 (H) x 8 (D) inches

Large Format (86 inch)
51.2 (W) x 83.9 (H) x 7 (D) inches