Lumber, Coal, and Fawn Skins, Installation, McInnich Gallery, Southern New Hampshire University, NH 2010
This installation is part of a decades-long project of researching and retracing the story of my grandfather and the Ziegler Expedition, examining its outcomes, and pondering the lessons embedded in their failure. This story is told in supply lists of stunning specificity and astonishing quantities: 36 tons of Spratts dog biscuits, 10,000 lbs of tallow, 16 tons of oats and corn, 800 fawn skins. Using the newest and finest materials possible in 1903: instant coffee tablets, powdered eggs, the toughest Siberian ponies, and the strongest hickory wood sleds, the men make a military-like assault against the ice. Ironically, a faith in the supplies and technology that support life in a harsh climate may have also contributed to their failure to reach the North Pole.