Ansilta Grizas, a 24 year old fron San Juan, Argentina, and her boyfriend Federico Peretti, left in mid-February to Antarctica in order to portray the continent in a film. They were selected from 250 projects presented at the “Art and Culture” program, by the Argentinean National Antarctic Direction.
There were selected national and international artists who participated in the Summer 2012 campaign which consisted in a residence of the participants in the Argentine bases. For the Argentines participated: Adriana Lestido (photo), Margarita Garcia Faure (painting), Carla Graciano (sculpture), Ansilta Grizas and Federico Peretti (performance), Guido Yannito (installation) and Lorena Avallar (performance). For foreigners: Kevin Lacombe (Canada-US), Diego Narvaez (Mexico), Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes (Germany-Italy), Kenneth Colorado (USA-Canada) and Mary Tahan (USA-Canada).
As a mountaineer, Ansilta is interested in extreme locations and Antarctica was one of them. However, not having studied any career related to the continent, she did not think she could ever go, until she learned of the call to the culture residence.”I knew someone who had spent a year in Base Esperanza, the wife of a soldier and all the stories she told me were amazing, she is the one that encouraged me to submit a project,” she said.
Her partner, Federico Peretti, works in film, video and photography, as well as her. They were working together and when she proposed to travel to Antarctica they decided to put together a project: “It is good to work with your partner because ideas feed on both sides. It was a rare experience to work together in this context, it feeds you plenty. ”
Ansilta told that becoming anger wasn’t a possibility, she could not go out for coffee at the corner: “The place sensitized me much, is a place so desolate, inhospitable and giant, I had my feelings to the surface.” In Deception and Base Cámara ether of theme had no internet or telephone, they could only communicate by radio and depended on a boat to fetch.
The project that they presented intended to portray the white ice and also sought the wind. They thought they were going to spend a month in Base Esperanza, where everything is white. However, they ended up going to Deception Island which is opposite to what may be thought of Antarctica: a volcanic island, black ice there is covered by volcanic ash, there is a permanent low fog, and the volcano could explode at any moment.
“There is something sinister about the island,” she said. Finally they put together a project where a person was dressed with red cloth, intervening landscape. They had also taken a minimalist and conceptual music that a friend had prepared. After spending two weeks in Decepción, they went a few days to Base Cámara where they did find a white landscape. The final work consisted of two videos that last four minutes.
The return to Ushuaia and then to Buenos Aires again, was by boat. It was a five days trip at the sea that included crossing the Drake Passage. “I decomposed, and I said to myself “I’m not coming back”, but now I see the pictures and I would. It is a very intense and you come across a lot of feelings. While I was there I said “no, I’m not coming back, that’s it, I accomplish my dream”, but now I would like to come back, I left things to do, I’d like to visit Base Esperanza and other permanent bases, and places with more white. ”
Work in Antarctica made by Argentine and foreign artists will be presented in September at a new Sur Polar presentation. Ansilta’s idea is to present this and other short films made in extreme places, like the desert in Argentina’s San Juan province, at film festivals.
“We saw many movies. The guys, who were there since some months before, had many others. I also paint in watercolors so I took them to work. Generally the group gathered at tables of drawing and “mate”. We also went out a lot to walk, we ate, we helped to cook, even made cakes. It’s a very relaxed life unlike Buenos Aires. ”
“We got up at 9 am, had breakfast, then we went out walking, we made some shots, at noon we returned to the base because it was lunchtime, and then took advantage of daylight hours for a walk. If there was a lot of wind we could not get out much. When we returned in the afternoon we downloaded and we edited photos that we took. At nine o’clock we had dinner and about eleven we were sleeping. Life is like that there, you cannot wait to do things at the rhythm of life in Buenos Aires. “