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STILL LIFE at NZ IceFest creates evocative experience

12 September 2012

STILL LIFE at NZ IceFest creates evocative inspirational experience

Provisions, Scott’s Hut, Cape Evans

STILL LIFE: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton, a sensory experience which forms the heart of NZ IceFest will welcome visitors from Friday (14 September).

As part of NZ IceFest the Antarctic Heritage Trust and Christchurch City Council has co-operated with one of New Zealand’s foremost photographers, Jane Ussher to create a sensory experience commemorating the lives of early explorers to Antarctica.

STILL LIFE takes place over 10 minute intervals throughout NZ IceFest inside a specially designed 10-metre white cube on the edge of Lake Victoria in Hagley Park.

The experience brings Antarctica to Christchurch in a way that will inspire people, says NZ IceFest Director, Jo Blair.

“Jane Ussher’s photographs of the landscape, scientific and everyday objects of the first Antarctic expeditions will give people the opportunity to experience Antarctica in a very personal way. The experience truly immerses people into the sounds and sights of the Antarctic landscape, and then draws them inside the huts cared for by the Antarctic Heritage Trust. It may just be the next best thing to actually being there. ”

Photographer Jane Ussher says that she felt a responsibility in creating the exhibition to those who might never get to visit Antarctica.

“Very few people get there, so it was important that we do this with great integrity. This is an opportunity to look at the images on a large scale, to see the clarity and sharpness that the design of the cube and the technology brings to the experience, inviting people to be fully absorbed. What they then take away from the experience is up to them.”

Jane Ussher is one of New Zealand's foremost photographers best known for her work documenting the changing social and political landscape over the last three decades. Following a trip to Antarctic in 2009, with Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson she co-authored STILL LIFE, a photographic essay that takes us inside the historic huts of Scott and Shackleton. This formed the basis of the STILL LIFE experience at NZ IceFest.

Since 2002 the Antarctic Heritage Trust has been engaged in the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project, a long-term, multi-site cold-climate conservation project to conserve four historic expedition bases and their contents left behind in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica and hailing from the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration (1895 – 1917).

The Trust has spent four years conserving Ernest Shackleton’s only Antarctic base including 5000 artefacts, and has spent the last five years conserving Captain Scott’s hut at Cape Evans. Scott’s hut alone has 8,500 objects that the Trust cares for.

Trust conservators work year-round in Antarctica - in winter conservators work at Scott Base, New Zealand’s scientific research facility. In summer they work on-site, living in polar tents and conditions similar to those enjoyed by the early explorers.

STILL LIFE: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton is open from 14 September – 14 October, Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 8pm; duration - 10 minutes. Entry is by gold coin donation and sessions can be reserved on the day from Ice Station HQ.

Follow the festival @nzicefest on Twitter and visit


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