Unbound: to hope till Hope creates / by Thea Augustina

Unbound: to hope till Hope creates

New sculpture, sound and photography based on two scenes from Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial TransAntarctic Expedition


“To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.”
Excerpt from Prometheus Unbound, by Percy Byssche Shelly

The sound piece is arranged from British composer Ralph Vaughn Williams’ (1872-1958) Sinfonia Antarctica No. 7. The loudest sections, the crescendos and torrential occurrences, and the quietest solos, the rests and repetitions, have been lifted and rearranged to create a new piece filled with either moments of chaos or of orderliness. Moments where there is hesitation, un-surety and fear and moments of calm and reassurance and possible trust. The piece begins with a drum roll, which is Endurance’s entrance into the Antarctic ice pack, the beginning of its end. There are three temperamental segments that reference the crushing of the ship’s timbers and planks, and then its final death scene. The end is quiet and features a violin echoing back onto itself: the 6 men pulling away from Elephant Island in the James Caird in order to save the entire crew. The piece ends neither sadly nor exuding hope: it is more a feeling of distance and an internal voice of a man’s weary thoughts.

Jupiter finds meaning from the title of the exhibition and Percy Byssche Shelley’s play, Prometheus Unbound. It is the story of Prometheus’ captivity and subsequent release from Jupiter’s grips (Greek: Zeus). Jupiter, now overthrown, no longer determines Prometheus’ fate. There is no reconciliation between the god and human. There is no acceptance or forgiveness. Jupiter possesses no compass for compassion or remorse: it is the Antarctic in all its non-humanness.