Humpback Whales Having a Whale of a Time.

Hi folks! Herewith, more tales from the Antarctic side…

In this installment I’ll be telling you about the third most-important inhabitant of Antarctica – whales.

Whales are third-in-line in the Antarctic pecking order after penguins (second-in-line) and Antarctic Krill (top dogs crustaceans). What the Krill? King Krill? Never heard of them, right? Well this lesser known species is Antarctic city hall since it’s first in line in the food chain down here. It’s because of the abundance of this crustacean (I’m talking probably megatons thereof in polar seas) that both whales and penguins are able to get more than their fill of animal fat. However, Krill live underwater all the time so you never get to see any – and that went for us too, so I’ll not be telling you about them. I’ve already told you about penguins here. So next up – whales; specifically – humpback whales, which were the ones we saw…

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The #Antarctica whale story. We had LOTS of whales around (mostly humpback whales). The captain who sailed this seas for a dozen years can't remember so much whales around. It was really oveWHALing! Whales logging, feeding, breeding, any sort of whales. But I never complaned :) | А теперь о китах в #Антарктида. Это был прямо какой-то китовый суп! Там и здесь, спят и кормятся, прыгают и шлёпают хвостами, вдалеке и в метре от лодки. Наш капитан признался, что за свою долгую полярную карьеру такого не видал. Было круто! #ekinantarctica

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Read on: a veritable

A Day in the Life of an Antarctic Artist.

Modern art. It’s a tricky one. It’s divisive. It’s polarizing. It can be ‘just too much’ for many – too avant garde, too unsettling; while for others it’s a natural, permanently fluctuating expression of the creative human spirit – in all its wildest, freshest imaginings. Nikita Khrushchev was firmly in the former ‘eh?’ camp, famously ranting, swearing like a trooper, pointing, shaking fists and assuring that his ‘grandchild could do better than this’ his when he visited a modern art exhibition in Moscow in 1962. But that was Khrushchev.

What I think the USSR General Secretary didn’t quite get was that modern art shouldn’t be taken at face value. Ok, let me try explain what I mean using a technique I’m very familiar and at-home with – mathematical induction. It shows me how many long-dead artists who are today renowned as geniuses often died poor or in disgrace. Only later – after prejudices of the day fade and the true merit of a daring modern artist becomes more and more widely recognized – only then does the man-in-the-street ‘get’ him. Only then does that same man-in-the-street realize his kind were responsible not only of tormenting an individual, but also a genius author who had contributed greatly to redirecting entrenched ways of seeing the world – aka, ‘world culture’ – toward new horizons.

Creativity is something eternal; it’s always been with us, and always will be. Just look at the walls of Neolithic caves covered with etchings. [Lengthy story that should/could be here – omitted for brevity’s sake.] Well that eternal flame of creativity is still going strong today – particularly here, on this here ship I’m writing this from. For here we have a group of contemporary artists of various genres and styles – and cultures – doing the modern kunst thing as they see fit – be it with installations or performances or whatever. I have to admit that I – like the above-mentioned man-in-the-street – don’t ‘get’ it all. But that doesn’t matter! Much like wise advice has always said that reading a book you don’t fully understand can never be a bad thing – not fully understanding modern art but still engaging with it is also no bad thing. For I really do respect modern art, in all its progressively perplexing ways. But you will have guessed that by now – what with us not only sponsoring the Antarctic Biennale, but with me personally taking part in it too…

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I write this from somewhere in Drake Passage, heading down to Antarctica with brave artists, installationists and performers, who over the next several days will be fully submerged in an Antarctic all-inclusive experience that’s never been done before.

All righty. I write this now after a few days of the expedition, and already a pattern has formed of what we do of a day here:

Every morning – and if possible, also every evening – the whole creative collective disembarks from the Vavilov onto an Antarctic island or mainland bit of Antarctica. They take with them earlier prepared installations, put on performances, arrange photo-exhibitions, and in plenty of other ways complicate their lives right there on the ice and snow.

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Read on: A Day in the Life of an Antarctic Artist…

From Southernmost City to Southernmost Continent.

Hi folks!

It’s been a while, I know. However, I’ve a fairly good excuse: Antarctic comms leave a lot to be desired, and it’s there where I’ve been the last ~two weeks!…

Quick rewind…: If you can remember that far back, my latest spot of continent-hopping had gone like this so far: JerseySaint-Michel – Paris. Well, next up wasn’t in Europe, but in South America: the city of Ushuaia in southern Argentina.

This city fascinated us. Actually, not the city itself – though it is perfectly ok; it was the skies there that blew us away. Some kinda crazy hurricanic-typhonic steel-colored uniqueness. Seriously southern, seriously stunning. Perfectly fitting for the world’s most southern city…


Read on: to the south, to the ice!…

A Caribbean Cyber-Summit: Gotta Love it.

A long time ago, in the prehistoric digital era, in a world of big trees while we were a mere bonsai, we started throwing a yearly conference for a select few of the most forward-thinking experts in information security. We christened it the Security Analyst Summit (SAS for short), and right from the get-go we wanted to make it the best event of its kind in the world. And when I say best, I mean both in terms of content:

…And in terms of a relaxed and fun atmosphere:

And to make the best even more memorable for all who take part in it, we traditionally throw SAS at a location with among the most unbearable conditions in the world. That is, always next to beach in a tropical clime :-).

Read on: Example…

Jersey in a Day.

Hi folks!

Herewith, more tales from Jersey.

I wasn’t quite expecting it but the island is a very beautiful one. It’s very green, with brightly colored flowers in places (in-between the potato fields). To the north it’s all rocks and cliffs along the coast. In good weather you can see the neighboring islands, and even a bit of France to the east.

In the evening we got to see a nice sunset above the sea:

But anyway. You might be wondering what we were doing on Jersey. Of course – working; plus touristy bits added on, as always ).

Read on: favorite work…

Oysterry Fields Forever.

Jersey feeds itself with the plentiful supply of potatoes that grows here; but all carbs and no protein is good for no man, woman or child, as you’ll all know. God knows this too, clearly, because he gave Jersey plentiful coastlines which, in combination with suitable climatic conditions, are the perfect place for oyster (protein!) breeding plantations. Which is where, unexpectedly, we were headed for a continuation of our touristic inspection of the island – shrouded by a thick fog and on the most unusual means of transport.


Read on: Here’s our ride

Jersey, pt. 1: A Hoard of Celtic Cash.

Hi folks – from the Bailiwick of Jersey, UK. Time for some touristic study of the history, ethnography, and other places and things of interest on this curious little island in the English Channel just a stone’s throw from France.

All righty. Before I get started here, er, could someone in the audience please tell me whether Jersey is an independent state or not? Why do ask? So I know whether I can add a +1 to my ‘been-to’ list of countries, of course!

The other reason I ask is that I couldn’t work it out for myself. I mean, WHAT?!: “[Jersey is] a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom, ruled by the Crown in right of Jersey. … Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown. … Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination.”!!!

Ok, I’ll just have to work it out by the feel of the place… And it sure does feel like the UK. The houses lining the roads, the signposts (all facing the wrong way:), the license plates (on cars driving on the wrong side of the road:), the open fire in the hotel, the cricket grounds, the fog, and the money with a Queen called Elizabeth on it… yep – sure all looks and feels like the UK to me. Curiously, one thing that doesn’t seem quite so typically British is the openness of the inhabitants and how easy it is to strike up a conversation with them! Or maybe it just seemed that way in the opaque atmosphere of existence here.

I mentioned the money; well, they’re pounds all right – just a little different (‘Jersey pounds‘):

Read on: Jersey’s an interesting place…