Femke Herregraven – Staring into the Ice
For Staring into the Ice, Femke Herregraven examines the relations between the financial world and global warming, and how the melting Arctic ice now opens up new investment opportunities and trading routes for financial markets by making it possible to lay submarine cables on the Arctic seabed. Governments in the Arctic can use this new network to expand their political influence, surveillance capabilities, financial markets, and especially high-frequency traders will benefit from it. The Arctic submarine cables will basically be constructed for one thing only: speed. Herregraven pinpoints the construction of the Arctic submarine cables and their political, infrastructural and ecological consequences. She will visit and document the planned locations of the Murmansk cable landing point and research what will be affected by the construction of this cable. Femke Herregraven’s work often starts with collecting information and objects that are difficult to obtain, or by visiting places that have a hidden function or are hard to access. She is particularly interested applying her research strategies to the realm of economics and finance. The infrastructures through which capital circulates are now a convoluted, multi-layered, global architecture of places, institutions, regulations and information networks. Herregraven explores the new geography, the language, myths and geopolitical imagination that global finance carves out. Within her long-term project, The All Infrared Line, Herregraven researches historical and current manifestations of telecommunication networks – the backbone of international financial markets. This research spans the early construction of submarine telegraph lines by the British Empire to documenting current cable landing points around the globe. Herregraven has also conducted research into Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the Netherlands, Liechtenstein and Mauritius. Interestingly, during her commission Murmansk closed its SEZ in the harbour, due to the lack of success. The Staring into the Ice essay Robotic Arms, Crabs and Algos: The Arctic Ocean Floor as a New Financial Frontier was published in the Sonic Acts Festival publication The Geologic Imagination.