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I am a bio-enhanced, nuclear assisted narwhal. I keep myself busy by observing and exploring the changing landscapes and discourses of the Far North. My long tooth has special properties. It’s an aerial of sorts, able to receive and send information and sense climate conditions and change. I can dive deep and swim great distances. But I am also able to use my special enhanced power to jettison myself out of the water and into the air. Beyond these properties I have developed extra sensory sensitivities that I use to look into the changing landscapes of the future north and the forces of today that may impact on our shared tomorrows.

You might say I am a communicative device, a constructed persona, a mobile apparatus for collaborative communication. A design fiction. Design friction! Read more here to get to know me and how we all need to heed changes in the far north and the ways they are shaped discursively already today. I’ll provide you with links and feeds, and a unique opportunity to travel a part of the globe you may find hard to visit yourself.


Future North

Posts written by Narratta (14)

  • Blimp me

    Technologies of seeing, remote sensing, satellite hoovering. Who’d have thought the far north town of Svalbard would have become such a techno-scape. Mines closed, hand drills and the elaborate overhead shuttle system would be replaced by scientists, students and tourists. Hey, it’s time to get outta town, this frontier like moon base sorta place I heard one of those Future Northers saying. Students all off on a landscape architecture task to draw sections, see the town differently, scaled and spliced up with new eyes.    

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    I’m powered, No, not just my mini reactor. I mean I am powerful! Hey, I’m even reactive! I’m alive, I’ve been living longer than my peers. None of that young blood transfused into me to reduce the aging process. I am alive, not just an atomic half-life! Not even sure how I’m really powered. Some might say it’s a radioisotope thermoelectric generator. The sort used in space probes. With its glowing orange core. And the string of lighthouses and beacons along the northern coasts of Russia all to be replaced by wind and solar by 2015.

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    Narwhal class

    We are a class. A species. We are one. But most people do not know very much about us. They rarely focus on smaller members of my mammalian family of whales. People ride boats to watch the tail fins and gigantic plumes of air and spray. No lamps burning with whale fat today.

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    Embedded in the future

    Some days all my nuclear empowerment makes me restless. Anxious even. Shark-like, I survey these Arctic waters. Murmansk, Vardø, Svalbard, across to the east coast of Greenland. And I love to lie shallow bays, chortling to myself with my thoughts of how to reveal the mysteries of climate change to the assemblies of scientists and tourists, behind my back, belly laid bare to the midnight sun, I find I become, well, a little reflective.

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  • Seamless

    I am back in Svalbard. The majestic mountains rise above the sea, my sense of perspective challenged each time I return, the glaciers climbing taller as I approach land and the ice cream thick curls of snow exquisitely untouched by anything we can see at a distance. It appears as though climate change has little effect as I punch my tail up and down through the cool water, powered by own motivations, unsure of what this day will reveal. But I know these surface shots are deceptive. There is a big melt coming by mid-century.

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    Reactively yours

    We are not all made the way we’d like to be. I’m a hybrid now through and through. The long and strong telomeres of my species, oh so superior to other whales. No one ever talks about us in that way. We are just the small cousins, the less spectacular blowers of pressured air, but nonetheless quite unique with out spiral tusks.

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    Dreamtime interrupted

    It will soon be spring up here and I see there is yet another scientific report saying the ice is thinning, that since the 1970s this has been a measured pattern and that in the not so distant future the northern passages will be free of ice for navigation in the summer. Cimate change. Changing climates if you ask me! Perhaps I will finally take a trip over to my Canadian relatives. All these changes disturb me though. I nodded off yesterday having read this news and had a strange dream.

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  • What is North?

    Is North a direction or a place? Is it a state of mind or an image? Might it be all of these?

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    Soy Sauce Hunting

    They eat my skin: ‘Mattak’ they call it. Cut in small cubes you can make out the mottled white pattern on my skin attached to the blubber. It is thicker than that of other whale species – and some say better tasting.

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    Vardø futures

    It’s a rather mild June afternoon in Vardø. This once Arctic city is at the northeast of Norway. I am resting right underneath the boardwalks in Vestervågen, among poles that were for a large part put down after WWII. You’ll recall that the German Nazis blew up most of the facilities on this side of the harbourfront. It looked quite different back in even 2014.

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    Reaching for reason

    I’ve kept quiet for a long time now. Centuries of lips sealed and horn retracted. Learned that one from the invention of the telescope. They have found me neverthless, explorers, mariners and hunters of the north. But its’s time to show up and shout out. Time that someone shaped these stories of the far far north. Alas. As if anyone can here me in this Arctic blizzard as the autumnal shifts seize the ice and toss it about in the shallower water.

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  • Workshoppings

    Work. Shopping. Daily life in Murmansk. The design-research team is back in town following their bus ride around the Kola Peninsula.

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    Spirals of design

    My atennna is working overtime this morning. I sense that the project team is in town! I am down in the water beside my old atomically powered ice-breaking relative The Lenin. That stalwart steel machine of movement now in the harbour of Murmansk for a facelift!

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