The Legal Status of Ice

The Legal Status of Ice

The Arctic is currently the centre of a contentious territorial dispute. The five Arctic nations — Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States — all make their claims, sometimes as literally as planting a titanium flag on the bottom of the ocean. The stakes are considered high: disappearing sea ice could uncover immense oil and gas riches. But isn’t it in fact the ice, which has declined by a shocking 50 percent since the late 1970s, which should be the urgent issue here? Irene Stracuzzi visualises the race to the Arctic and all that is at stake in a huge 3D model that explores the overlapping border claims by means of a projection. It compares these with geographic data of fluctuations in sea ice, oil and gas reserves, navigational routes and the geological formations of the seabed. As the Arctic nations are trying to acquire more data to substantiate their assertions, Irene shows what is already known; it seems to be more than enough to start questioning the meaning of hard national borders in a region that should be perceived as a global commons. The model was realised in co-operation with Bruns in Bergeijk.

Irene Stracuzzi