Glacial landscapes have never before had such a strong visual presence in popular culture, where they serve as prominent symbols of anthropogenic climate disturbance. Although few people have visited their remote geographies, glacial regions loom large in the collective imagination, as a last stronghold and melting ideal of a fantasized reality.
Towards No Earthly Pole was conceived in 2017, when Julian Charrière was invited aboard a Russian research ship as part of the first Antarctic Biennale, inspiring subsequent research and expeditions to equally remote and hostile glacial regions.
Along with his Berlin-based team, he developed customized technological equipment, including drones carrying spotlights and cameras. The video footage for the film was recorded at night, contrary to the romantic image of a dazzling landscape of white snow and bright daylight that we generally see pictured. A spotlight carried by a drone reveals the massive landscape in snippets, limiting the range of vision and heightening its drama by the deep shadows the icebergs cast. Eerie sounds of cracking ice and water flowing remind us that this frozen landscape is very much alive, breathing, moving and constantly evolving. All of these elements combined underline an otherworldly presence and a scenario in which one begins to lose all sense of grounding or scale, highlighting that the western man’s limited experience and, at times, falsely constructed perception of the polar regions is both reinforced and challenged.
Director: Johannes Förster
Drone Pilots: Per Jacob Blut, Matt Cianfrani, Anders Berthelsen
Production / Lighting: Carl Kemper
Production Assistance: Till Egen
Photography: Serena Acksel, Philipp Lee Heidrich
Technical engineering / Ground control: Constantin Engelmann, Roman Kolbert
Director / Editor: Johannes Förster
Composer / Sound Designer: Robert Lippok
Spatial Sound Designer: Felix Deufel
Colorist / Finishing Artist: Jan Schöningh
Senior Compositing Artist: Tom Freeman, Neil Reynolds
Compositing Artist: André Roboredo, Christian Kaupert
Matchmover: Matthias Schiemann, Dragan Vujnic
Additional SFX: Omer Ben David, Karim Arnold Fuad
Postproducer: Julian Brinkmann
Postproduction Assistant: Yasmin Balai
Postproduction Supervisor: Finn Jäger
Technician: Julian Link