Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, has just returned from the 1st Antarctic Biennale expedition – a creative and extraordinary journey that brought together artists, researchers, tech visionaries and philosophers, in search of a universal cultural future for Antarctica. Each expedition member became an eyewitness and key contributor to the art-making process.
The art expedition under UNESCO’s patronage started on March 17 in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, and lasted for 12 days. With participants fully aware of the challenges that lay ahead, the first few days on board ship saw rough seas through the Drake Passage play havoc with seasickness, and schedules for onboard presentations and discussions rearranged as a result.
However, once the ship had crossed the South Polar Circle, the sea became calm and the still beauty of Antarctica became apparent and amazed those on board. Shining icebergs, mountains, and pure white land that stretched to the horizon, and the unique wildlife, provided the inspiration for artists to consider the future of humanity and Antarctica’s role within it, which they translated into unique art objects and performances.
During landings at various Antarctic locations, the artists temporarily installed their works of art and staged performances. Themes for each piece of work included mobility, proportionality to space, ecological compatibility, artistic expressiveness and conceptual acuity. Example works included a piece by Yasuaki Igarashi who, together with other artists, created a fish net that connects memories of the people who weave it. Once you look through it, you see the world in a new light. Sho Hasegawa developed a pair of skates that can generate electricity when used, without harming the environment. Shama Rahman played a breathtaking sitar concerto, which sounded fantastic in the middle of the icy Antarctic.
As well as being the general sponsor of the Antarctic Biennale, Kaspersky Lab also contributed to the project in a special way. Our mission to save the world inspired Argentinean artist and engineer Joaquín Fargas to create the Glaciator, a robot on a mission to keep the Earth safe from viruses – not in cyberspace, but in Antarctica. Glaciator compresses the snow as it steps on it giving it the nickname “Firn-Maker”, with firn being the intermediate state between snow and glacier ice. This process contributes to accelerate the formation of a glacier. Despite its disconnection from the Internet making Antarctica one of the safest places on Earth when it comes to cybersecurity, we have not left anything to chance: Glaciator is protected by security software from Kaspersky Lab.
Commenting on his journey to Antarctica with the Biennale, Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: “The progress of humankind depends on a continual confrontation between forward-looking thought on the one hand, and grounded, practical thought on the other. This is a healthy and natural co-existence, which allows us to go beyond existing boundaries and open up new horizons. The Antarctic Biennale is a unique event combining art, philosophy and science to inspire people of various cultures to help shape the future of humanity. It elegantly combines seemingly incompatible disciplines and layers them with art to create disruptive ideas aimed at exploring the undiscovered – to make our lives better and more well-balanced. We’re very proud to be the general partner for this project, and most happy to contribute to its important mission of making the world a better place; perhaps not coincidentally, this is also our overarching objective for the role of cybersecurity.”
The expedition aimed to provide a platform for intercultural and transdisciplinary dialogue about the future of ‘shared spaces’, complete unique artistic research into the sites on the edge of human experience, and to create the foundation for effective communication in such spaces. Not only was this goal achieved, but the vision and purpose of the expedition will live on through the installations created, as they find new homes and inspire future thought in the world’s leading museums and art centers.