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In the Cold Edge
Janet Biggs, 2010.

Single-channel, high definition video, 16:9 format
Time: 05:29
Edition of 5, plus 2 APs

In the Cold Edge examines an individual's search for meaning at the end of the earth. Isolated and vulnerable, the characters in Biggs' video struggle to define and defend their sense of self in an extreme environment. Challenged by the elements and the unknown, Biggs' subjects (one of which is herself) find a kind of sublimity in which social time is destabilized by the power of nature, resulting in both awe and terror.

Opening with a lone figure descending into an ice cave, we follow his path as he explores the crevasses and below-ground chambers formed by an ever moving glacier. Crawling through claustrophobic ice tunnels, one feels the massive weight of the ice above. Lit solely by the headlamps of the climber and artist, the viewer discovers shimmering ice stalactites and immense, gravity-defying frozen formations. Ascending above ground with the climber, the viewer is thrust into the vastness of Arctic space.

The piece ends with Biggs herself shooting off a flare into an archetypal image of the frozen north. This act is both an aggressive assertion of power and a cry for help in a landscape where assumptions about self and reality are radically altered.

Click for larger images:
Janet Biggs: In the Cold Edge

Janet Biggs: In the Cold Edge

Janet Biggs: In the Cold Edge

Janet Biggs: In the Cold Edge

Janet Biggs: In the Cold Edge

Janet Biggs: In the Cold Edge

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Video excerpt:
 

 

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