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Fade to White
Janet Biggs, 2010.

Single-channel, high definition video, 16:9 format
Time: 12:28
Edition of 5, plus 2 APs

Video excerpt (low resolution. Original is high definition):

In Fade to White, Biggs delves into the desire to explore remote lands. To create this work, the artist embarked on an expedition in the high Arctic, traveling aboard an ice-class, 2-masted schooner, built in 1910. During the voyage, Biggs filmed Fade to White, focusing on a crew member as he navigated the ship through iceberg filled seas, and paddled a kayak past glacier walls and polar bears.

As she photographed the explorer, Biggs tested her own will and endurance. The visual tension of her uncompromising imagery bespeaks their mutual struggle to maintain balance and purpose. Yet, the video also reveals the myth of the solitary white male explorer. Biggs explains, "The desire to hold onto the notion of the 'great white north' as a blank space awaiting interpretation only reinforces the idea of the colonial polar hero. The 'virgin' north has now been mapped, surveyed, and mined, but increased knowledge has not replaced endless fantasies of discovery."

Loss and change are implicit in the video's title, Fade to White, which refers to an editing technique used to evoke death or transcendence. Biggs integrated her Arctic imagery with sound and video footage of counter tenor John Kelly, whose age, androgyny, and mournful voice parallel the vanishing Arctic landscape and signal the waning of male dominance.

Texts:

bullet Finch, Charlie: White on White. Artnet, 22 June 2010.
 
 

Click for larger images:

Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White  John Kelly Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White

John Kelly Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White  Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White

Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White  John Kelly Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White 

Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White  Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White

Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White  John Kelly Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White 

John Kelly Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White  Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White

Image from Janet Biggs video Fade to White  Installation view of Janet Biggs video 'Fade to White' at Conner Contemporary Gallery, Washington

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