Bold as Ice

Miami artist Xavier Cortada finds fresh air at the South Pole

In Longitudinal Installation the artist placed twelve identical pairs of black leather shoes, purchased from a Liberty City wholesale outlet, in a circle around the South Pole. The text accompanying the photo notes that the shoes served as a proxy for a person affected by global climate changes in the world above, and were placed inches apart along the corresponding longitudes where those individuals live.

For The 150,000-Year Journey, Cortada embedded a replica of a mangrove seedling in the three-kilometer-thick glacial ice sheet blanketing the Pole. The Cuban-American artist has adopted the mangrove seedling as a metaphor to address the immigrant journey — what he refers to as "the displacement, the solitude, the struggle to simply integrate oneself into society." As the seedling begins it 150,000-year trek in the direction of the Weddell Sea, 1400 kilometers away, Cortada questions how humanity and the earth might evolve in the time it will theoretically take for the art piece's completion.

The short video piece captures Cortada in the process of planting his flags, and the harsh subzero conditions he endured. All of his installations were created on the same day, documented, then taken down.

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