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At present the Circumpolar North provides a unique laboratory for studying future landscapes of production, infrastructure, excavation, and environmental change. More »

This project has been completed

Murmansk: a coastal city?

Forged by its strategic location and by geopolitics, Murmansk has been the primary port city in the Russian Arctic since it was established in 1916. With access to ice-free routes to the Barents Sea and open waters to the West, Murmansk has been ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

Three futures for Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ of Svalbard (or Spitsbergen as it is called by some), is a lively community that is now facing closure of its cornerstone-industry: coal mining. World market prices have plummeted, operating costs are high, and ... Read more »


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 ... Read more »

The Art of Svalbard, May 23-June 1, 2015

I was in Svalbard specifically to look at public art deployed around Longyearbyen—the statues of polar bears and miners, and the light works on the Global Seed Vault for example—as part of my examination of how a brandscape was being ... Read more »

Svalbard, The Arctic, May 23-June 1, 2015

It’s not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from saltwater crocodiles to polar bears, but I left tropical Australia on a Tuesday and by the end of the week I am walking up the main road of Svalbard’s only town, Longyearbyen, toward the glacier ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »


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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

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. ... Read more »

The City that is an Island

In Tasiilaq on Greenland’s East Coast infrastructure and the urban support systems are present and highly visible in the town. This provides a contrast to modern cities in other parts of the world—in which infrastructure is often both ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »

Walking the High Wire

In January 2014 the Future North team and guest researcher Bill Fox (from the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art) visited Vardø on the Barents Coast. ... Read more »

Genre Innovation

This international seminar is the result of a long standing collaboration on genre and innovation between AHO and the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo. This event is lead by Prof Gunnar Liestøl and assembles ... Read more »

Fabulous forms and design fictions

Design research is a growing domain of interdisciplinary inquiry. It is often inflected with knowledge, processes and artifacts arrived at via mix of practice and analysis. One of the emerging themes in this research is the role of ... Read more »

Climates of change?

In the Future North project one of our core challenges is how to convey the immiment and more distant character of climate change. Today, Janike, Peter and I are attending the annual SAMKUL Programme conference hosted by the Research Council of ... Read more »

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 ... Read more »


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

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 ... Read more »

Heroic Kola

Two wars have touched this Northern expanse over the last hundred years, most dramatically in the Second World War when the Soviet Red Army defeated the Germans on the fields of Zapadnaya Litsa and then liberated Norway in October 1944. ... Read more »

Walking a line

Walking a local neighbourhood with a group of young people in Murmansk, we encountered new urban scenes and childhood memories. This provides us with an opportunity to think about the future of urban space. ... Read more »

In the clear light of day

I am standing at the edge of the town. The hills are not the hills. I gaze at them, waiting for a word. Words and landscape. I see them as flat topped … buttes. Horizontals cutting across the horizon. A symmetry in their patterns. ... Read more »

Ears not eyes

Today our guest Alessandra Ponte gave an enlivened talk on her work on the extreme conditions of the Atacama desert in northen Chile as part of the Future North project seminar series. She chose to shift between Google Earth and Powerpoint. ... Read more »