As global warming accelerates, the Arctic is changing fast. Gregor Sailer captures this deep shift in his photographs of military stations and ice monitoring kit, part of his exhibition called The Polar Silk Road
22 February 2023
THESE chilly and chilling images, taken within the Arctic circle, capture the economic and geopolitical tensions that are only growing in the region as global warming accelerates. They come from photographer Gregor Sailer’s latest project, The Polar Silk Road.
Its title refers to new routes that are being carved out across the region to facilitate trade between the US, western Europe and east Asia. At sea, this has only become possible as more ice melts.
The Arctic is home to many research and military bases. The photographs above highlights military outposts. The main image is the Norwegian Observation Post 247, on the country’s border with Russia. Pictured above is an image of the deep-water, underground submarine dock at the Olavsvern naval base in Tromsø, Norway.
Pictured above is equipment needed for the East Greenland Ice-core Project on the north-east Greenland ice sheet. This endeavour was created to drill through the sheet to find out how the flow of this frozen mass to the ocean will affect future ice loss.
For shipping to thrive in the frozen north, ports are needed, such as Kirkenes on the Barents Sea in Finnmark, Norway, shown above with broken sea ice just off the coast.
The final image above is of the Miðnesheiði radar site in Iceland, part of NATO’s air defence system, which now primarily monitors air traffic and directs aircraft.
The Polar Silk Road photographs are on show at the Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation in Berlin until 2 April.
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