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All that's frozen melts into air: Arctic cinemas at the end of the world

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Drawing on the concepts of the sublime and the spectacle, this article examines the ways in which global cinemas have often mobilized the trope of the Arctic as the end of the world. Drawing on a radically disparate set of films, including examples from Swedish and Danish art cinema; Cold War documentaries made or supported by the Danish and American governments for both general release and television; 1950s 'True Life Adventures' nature documentaries made by the Disney studio; Creation, a work by American avant-garde film-maker Stan Brakhage; and To the Arctic, a recent IMAX 3D film. We argue that most of these works eradicate the material, cultural and geographical specificity of the Arctic for political and ideological reasons.
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Keywords: Arctic cinemas; Arctic colonialism; Brakhage; Critical Arctic Studies; Nordic cinemas; Troell; documentary; end times

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Queen's University 2: University of Illinois

Publication date: 01 December 2013

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  • PUBLIC is a beautifully designed peer-reviewed journal founded in Toronto as an intellectual and creative forum that focuses on how theoretical, and critical issues intersect with art and visual culture. Each issue's editors explore a contemporary theme by bringing together a unique assemblage of Canadian and international art projects with writing by scholars, curators, critics, and artists. This, along with book and exhibit reviews, creates an assemblage of artists projects and original writing on prescient contemporary themes in art and culture.
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