My research project Half Hidden attempts to pin down possible intersections between technology, myth and colonialism.
On my journey to an abandoned cryolite mine in Ivittuut, Greenland, I was confronted with an enormous void and a pervasive mirror. These characteristics and their metaphors have become central to the project where recordings and archival gems from Ivittuut are juxtaposed with what I consider corresponding digital voids and mirrors.
The geological scar of Ivittuut doesn’t just talk about the absence of cryolite; it equally represents the loss of language, history and identity caused by colonialism. I suggest that those fundamental human attributes are at stake in today’s global, digitally colonised reality too, which ironically, was triggered by a technological revolution, enabled in part by cryolite and its properties as a catalyst in the production of aluminium.
By the time the mine in Ivittuut was emptied in 1986, it didn’t take long for the ocean to reclaim the 180 meter deep quarry. Most of the heavy industrial buildings and cranes were demolished and most likely dumped into the quarry, leaving the site inconspicuously vacant, making it the perfect metaphor for the disappearing act of the mineral, the revenue and the environmental and colonial damage in the collective Danish conscience.
Anne Haaning is a PhD candidate at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, affiliated with Tromsø Art Academy and the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme.