The Longitudinal Installation
I will place 12 pairs of shoes in a circle around
the ceremonial South Pole as a temporary installation. Placing the shoes next to
each other as a proxy for people across the globe, I aim
to conceptually diminish the distance between them.
-- Xavier Cortada
artist Xavier Cortada purchased 12 identical pairs of black shoes
and shipped them to Antarctica.
Cortada also captured newspaper
quotes from people across the 24 time zones about the impact of
climate change on their lives. (Please scroll down to read
Antarctica, Cortada painted the approximate longitudes of
the country in which the quote originated inside 24 shoes
(so that in the South Pole each could be aligned with the
longitude corresponding to the location on Earth where the
the shoes, Cortada mixed acrylic paint with soil samples
from the Dry Valleys in Antarctica, one of the places on
Earth most susceptible to climate change.
then flew to the South Pole and placed the 24 shoes inches
apart in a circle along the South Pole, each aligned with
its corresponding longitude as it converged on the South
then walked to the 0 degree longitude, the prime meridian,
and walked clockwise around the pole, stopping at each
shoe to recite each of the following quotes :
“There may be a move of wineries into the Pyrenees in the
--- Xavier Sort, technical director of Miguel
Switzerland: “Losses to insurers from environmental events
have risen exponentially over the past 30 years, and are
expected to rise even more rapidly still.”
--- Pamela Heck, Insurance Industry Expert.
Zimbabwe: “We used to be able to grow everything we want
but that has all changed.”
--- Matsapi Nyathi, Grandmother.
Turkey: “We are helpless. We're trying to rescue
trapped people while also trying to evacuate flood waters
that have inundated hundreds of houses.”
--- Muharrem Ergul, Mayor, Beykoz district of Istanbul.
Iran: “More than 90 percent of our wetlands have
completely dried up.”
--- Alamdar Alamdari, environmental researcher, Fars
Maldives: “In the worst case scenario, we'll have to
--- Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Shaheed.
Tibet (China): “The Sherpas of Khumbu may not know
everything, but they are suffering the consequences of the
people's greed. We mountain people should be careful and
take precautions. If we don't save Khumbu today our fresh
water will dry up and the problem will be impossible to
solve in the future.”
--- Ngawang Tenzing Jangpo, the Abbot of Tengboche
Borneo (Indonesia): “There's been no rain, it's
horrible. The governor's office has instructed schools and
offices to close until further notice.”
--- Hidayat, government official.
Philippines: “The disaster covered almost every corner
of this province - rampaging floods, falling trees,
damaged houses. It happened very rapidly and many people
did not expect this because they haven't experienced mud
flows in those areas before.”
--- Fernando Gonzalez, governor of Albay province.
Japan: “It's no exaggeration to say that Japan faces a
critical situation when describing the rapid decline of
marine supply in its domestic waters that is linked to
seaweed loss. Tengusa (seaweed) provides food for marine
--- Tomohiro Takase, head of the fisheries department at
the Hachijojima municipality.
(Great Barrier Reef) Australia: “In 20 years’ time,
bleaching is highly likely to be annual and that will
cause shallow-water corals to be in decline. We need to
start working out how we can help people who rely on it
for their income. It's really quite a stunning fact.”
--- Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Centre for Marine
Studies at the University of Queensland.
Micronesia: “We have nowhere to go.”
--- Ben Namakin, Environmental Educator.
Tuvalu: “Tuvalu is the first victim of global
--- Koloa Talake, former prime minister.
Niue: “Yesterday morning we woke up to a scene of so much
devastation, it was just unbelievable. Cyclone Heta was
just so fast, furious and ruthless.”
--- Cecelia Talagi, Government Secretary.
Alaska (USA): “We are at a crossroads. . . Is it practical to
stand and fight our Mother Ocean? Or do we surrender and
--- Shishmaref Mayor Edith Vorderstrasse.
Yukon (Canada): “The weather is really unpredictable
and the ice freezes much later and breaks up earlier.
There are more incidents of hunters falling through the
--- Kik Shappa, Hunter, Griese Fiord, Canada.
Nunavut (Canada): “Our cultural heritage is at stake
here. We are an adaptable people. We have over the
millennium been able to adapt to incredible circumstances.
But I think adaptability has its limits. If the ice is not
forming, how else does one adapt to seasons that are not
as they used to be when the whole environment is changing
underneath our feet, literally?”
--- Sheila Watt-Cloutier, president of the circumpolar
Colorado (USA): “In Colorado, climate change means
less snow, less water, more wildfires, less biodiversity
and less economic opportunity, as there is less water
available for development.”
--- Stephen Saunders, president, Rocky Mountain Climate
Nicaragua: “I closed my eyes and prayed to God.”
--- Hurricane Mitch survivor Mariana González.
Peru: “I tell my wife the day that mountain loses its
snow, we will have to move out of the valley.”
--- Jose Ignacio Lambarri, farmer, Urubamba Valley
Argentina: “The flooding has forced us to redesign
routes. We thought it would be for a short period of time,
but it has been almost six years.”
--- Carlos Avellaneda, manager of a trucking company.
Brazil: “I am very frightened. One thing goes wrong,
and the entire system follows.”
--- Jair Souto, Mayor of Manaquiri.
Greenland: “They tell us that we must not eat mattak
[whale blubber], but this is all we know. Eating Inughuit
food makes us who we are, and anyway we have nothing else
--- Tekummeq, Town of Qaanaaq.
Mauritania: “We are only eating one meal a day. When
there is not enough food, it is the young and the old that
get fed first.”
--- Fatimitu Mint Eletou, Bouchamo.
the shoes next to each other as a proxy for people across
the globe, I conceptually diminish the distance between
We are one
global community. Creating this installation in a
continent with no borders, the artist aims to diminish the
man-made barriers in the world above it. Voices
simultaneously stand in their place (longitude) around the
world and inches away from one another.