JURY'S CHOICE

 

Anne Filipova

Lives and works in Paris (France)

www.anfilip.com

 

 

 

Research at the end of the world

 

Ny-Ålesund is situated on the 79th parallel north on Svalbard archipelago, which makes it the most northerly permanent civilian settlement in the world. It houses the largest laboratory for modern Arctic research in existence. It has a very restricted access both because of the scientific project that are conducted and the measuring instruments that are situated around the area. Even though there are many rules and regulations in NyÅlesund to protect the wildlife and preserve the environment, one can see the human activity trough the scientific instruments, which are gradually becoming part of the landscape.

 

In the 1980's Blomstrandhalvøya (a place situated next to Ny-Ålesund on the 80th parallel North) was still believed to be a peninsula, but due to the retreating of glacier Blomstandbreen, this previous peninsula then became an island in less than a decade.

 

Even though the settlement is located away from major sources of human pollution, the atmospheric circulation brings air from Europe and North America into the region.  This creates a unique environment on two counts: firstly for the observation of post global warming conditions and secondly in creating a concentration of international scientific research and collaboration between nations.