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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.83 Santiago abr. 2013

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-69962013000100003 

 

READINGS

Antarctica: Dead Reckoning

  

Pedro Alonso *(1) (text), Ignacio García Partarrieu** y Arturo Scheidegger** (images)

* Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture, Santiago, Chile.
** Partner, Oficina Umwelt(2), Santiago, Chile.


Resumen

The harsh conditions of the last vacant continent, the one that today is a world natural reserve, demands a new understanding on urbanism, occupation and exploration.

Palabras clave: Antarctica, urbanism, territory, occupation, mapping.


 

The mapping of ice and water in the first continent discovered by photography(1)

Early in the 20th century, and prior the renowned -if not always successful- expeditions to by Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton, Gilbert H. Grosvenor wrote in the National Geographic that "To the south of Magellan Strait there is a supposed continent, twice the size of the United States, which is justly called the most mysterious land in the world." (Grosvenor, 1907)(2) For a long time guessed, this region, the Terra Australis Incognita, was only "theoretical" (fig. 1). It was Aristotle, in his Meteorology, who imagined that the landmass in the northern hemisphere must be balanced by a similar landmass in the south. If there is an Arctic, he thought, there must be an Antarctic.(3) As presented in Grosvenor's text, well into the age of photography, a whole continent remained unknown, mysterious, and a fertile land for myth and fable. During the 18th century, in his letter to the secretary of the Royal Society in London, the Frenchman François-Gabriel Coyer reported his observations on the height of the Patagonians (fig. 2), the highest, he said, ". six and a half feet" (Coyer, 1767). In his letter, itself adorned by fictional episodes, Coyer referred to Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis,(4) who ".by looking to find the reason why dwarfs and giants are only to be found near the poles, adventured this hypothesis: '.those races of giants and dwarfs would have settled there, either because the climate suited them, or more probably because they have been pushed into these latitudes by other men who feared the giants and despised the dwarfs" (Coyer, 1767). Moreau de Maupertuis, himself a member of the French Academy of Sciences, had been appointed in 1736 to lead the expedition that would eventually verify Newton's prediction that the Earth was flattened at the Poles.


Fig.1 Map of the Hemispheres from Woodbridge's map of September 28th, 1821. It shows the Shetland Islands, Palmer's Land, and the "Seal Islands" near the South Orkney group. Published at Hartford, Connecticut, by William C. Woodbridge. Reproduced with permission from the copy in the Library of Yale University from William Herbert Hobbs, The Discoveries of Antarctica within the American Sector, as Revealed by Maps and Documents.

Fig. 2. Drawing by Abbe Antoine-Joseph Pernety published in his book Journal historique d'un voyage fait aux îles Malouines en 1763 et 1764 pour les reconnoître et y former un établissement et de deux voyages au détroit de Magellan avec une relation sur les Patagons. Berlin, 1769.

In his final student project of 1935 at the Universidad Católica School of Architecture in Chile, the future surrealist painter (and father of Gordon Matta- Clark) Roberto Matta Echaurren also considered the enigmatic lure of the undetermined and remote standing of Antarctica. He designed "The League of Religions", a congress building surrounded by anthropomorphic-shaped complex of villas conceived to host the meetings of the world's religions at the Antarctic's Elephants Bay, which was, according to Matta, the only place still inaccessible in Chile (fig. 3). Holding an "implicit universalist ideal" (Aldunate, 2011) and loosely inspired in Le Corbusier's 1929 Mundaneum, the project was supposed to gather religions in a place nobody could actually reach, in the only region still largely uncertain as to complete the map of the world. Later on, in the 1930s and 40s the Antarctic obscurities were followed by a whole new range of spectacular tales about both atomic espionage and warships of space stories relating the Terra Incognita to Nazi, Cold War and alien imaginary. (5)


Fig. 3 Liga de las religiones. Diploma project by Roberto Matta Echaurren, 1935. In: STRABUCCHI, Wren (ed.). 1984-1994. Cien anos de arquitectura en la Universidad Católica de Chile. Ediciones ARQ, Santiago, 1994.

Corroborating Grosvenor, Roland Huntford explains that by 1902 Antarctica was still a blank on the map. Broken by sporadic landfalls, the interior was totally unknown (Huntford, 1979). But the absence of cartography did not mean that the map of the South Pole was completely empty. Since ".the reappearance in the West of Claudius Ptolemy's second-century ad work The Geography." (Cosgrove, 2003) the use of the grid and reticule became common in representing the sphaera mundi, and even the most mysterious land, the Terra Australis Incognita, had a well-established layout of parallels and meridians prior to any accurate mapping. This situation was well summarized by Jules Verne in his Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: the South Pole, he said, "that unknown point where the meridians of the globe meet" (Verne, 1870). As a means of charting the unknown, since Ptolemy, the grid brought forward knowledge by tabulae and lists of coordinates (Cosgrove, 2003). Together with serving in the guidance of vessels and explorers, the structure provided by the grid predated the emergence of Antarctica in the fixed form of a map. In absence of reassuring cartography the tools were the grid, the sextant and the nautical almanac. Starting in 1675, a large number of maritime expeditions started to outline possible shapes of the Antarctic continent (figs. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13).

Exploration routes in the Antarctic coasts 1675-1843.


Fig. 4 Anthony De la Roché, 1675.


Fig. 5 James Cook, 1772-1774.


Fig. 6 William Smith, 1819.


Fig. 7 Belignshausen, 1819-1821.


Fig. 8 James Weddel, 1823-1824.


Fig. 9 Durmont D'urville, 1839-1840.


Fig. 10 Charles Wilkes, 1839-1842.


Fig. 11 James Ross, 1840-1841.


Fig. 12 James Ross, 1841-1843.


Fig. 13 Superposition of the exploration routes in the Antarctic coasts 1675-1843.

Since the grid is a spatial structure governed by geometry but concealed below the level of appearance, and tool for observation and technique, (Cosgrove, 2003) we may think of it as fundamentally infrastructural, or perhaps superstructural, for the workings of the world machine. As the graphic representation of a spatial order, the image of the grid itself was emblematized in the iconographic use of the globe, giving form and name to nameless things (Cosgrove, 2003). If we transfer Rosalind Krauss' description of the grid as geometrized, unnatural, and anti-real to the mysteries of remote Antarctic, unlike it would happen in art, it will not replace the multiple dimensions of reality by the extent of a single surface, simply because at the time (prior to areal photography and the mapping to the South Pole) there was not a reality beyond the grid in itself (fig. 14). Following on Krauss', though, far from eliminating the myths surrounding the Antarctic, it provided another myth and another set of images, to such an extent that Buckminster Fuller himself conceived his Dymaxion World Map in connection to it. Because the Mercator projection was rooted in the 16th, not the 20th century', he sought the emancipation from the formal cartographic tyranny traditionally imposed by the poles (Fuller, 1963) by resolving the dilemma of cartography: "how to depict as a flat surface this spherical world, with true scale, true direction and correct configuration at once and the same time" (fig. 15). (6)


Fig. 14 Griffith Taylor: Admiral Byrd's Discoveries in Antarctic.
In: The Science News-Letter Vol. 17 No 480, June, 21st 1930.


Fig. 15 Buckminster Fuller: Dymaxion world map grid.

His new image offered a rival to the other, more longstanding illustrations of the world (as Roland Barthes' observed, "the best weapon against myth is perhaps to mystify it in its turn, and to produce another myth"). Without touching upon the actual mapping of Antarctica, Fuller's iconoclast trope modified the grid governing it. In order for his web to be more accurate as a flat surface, he redesigned the world to a cube with its corners cut off, a shape of irregular solid first constructed by Archimedes. Skipping mere resemblance to the sphere, his newly constructed myth was itself a projection and thus a project: nothing less than redesigning earth.

Regarding maps of Soviet manufacture (fig. 16), Frank Westerman has wondered about the following possibility: could it be that those maps accurately reflect a socialist reality? And if so(7), how did that reality differ from ours? (Westerman, 2002). With him, and facing the remote and unknown Antarctic, I would wonder what kind of reality do either Ptolemy or Fuller's grids reflect? Perhaps they reveal less the Antarctic than the kind of cultures producing those abstract images. This is also the case for the cartographical results obtained out of aerial photography (fig. 17), as in the early example of Lincoln Ellsworth's Trans-Antarctic flight and the maps constructed from the 66 photographs taken in his two flights of November 21st and November 23rd , 1935 (Joerg, 1937).


Fig. 16 Russian diagram showing Soviet bases and infrastructure in the Antarctica around its major settlement, Vostok base.

Fig. 17 Finn Ronne, Antarctic mapping and aerial photography.
In: JOERG, Wolfgang Louis Gottfried. "The Cartographical Results of Ellsworth's Trans-Antarctic flight of 1935".

What if, from a Barthesian point of view, we consider that the photograph reproduces to infinity what has occurred only once, repeating mechanically what could never be repeated existentially? (Barthes, 1980). If to Barthes photography, to be discussed on a serious level, must be described in relation to death,(8) how would this affect our understanding of the Antarctic continent and the fixing of landforms into the flat surface of a map or a photo? Bearing upon the kind of culture that produces myths and images, with Barthes I would conclude that photography transforms a subject into an object, and even, one might say, into a museum object (Barthes, 1980). Photography and mapping would then freeze the frozen continent at another -more conceptual but not less significant- level.

The contrasting cultures upon the conceptualization of Earth are well described by Roland Huntford in his book on the South Pole explorers Scott and Amundsen, where he depicts two different philosophies of travel and discovery: skis, dogs, canvas and rubberized cloth in Amundsen's (fig. 18), versus trudging, ponies, fur anoraks and Eskimo boots in Scott's (Theroux, 1979). Huntford explains that to Amundsen, skiing, together with dog-driving seemed fundamental qualifications of a Polar explorer, but it was not universally self-evident: "At almost exactly the same time, Sir Clements Markham, the father of modern British Antarctic exploration was laying down the rule of Polar travel as 'No ski. No dogs'" (Huntford, 1979). Upon his advise, by bringing ponies, Scott (fig. 19) had mistakenly taken the Antarctic to be itself a territory to be discover and conquered. And we know that was Amundsen the first man at the Southern Pole, whereas Scott, his crew and animals all died while trying to get there.


Fig. 18 The route of Amundsen, 1911.


Fig. 19 The route of Scott, 1911-12.

But the territorial status of the Antarctic should be considered controversial. After all, it holds 90% of the world's ice, and 70% of the planet's fresh water reserves, including several large lakes hidden beneath the average 2,000 meters thick ice cap. The gradual filling up of the grid should then be considered as the mapping of ice and is water, since what Scott, Amundsen, and all early explorers found there was not land (terra or territory) but snow, wet snow, clinging snow; sea ice rafted and twisted into ridge. There was fog. There were moist, midst, whiteouts, as well as corries, creeps, drumlins, horns, tarns, kettles, eskers, kames, varves, moraines and a whole vocabulary alien to the conquest of land (fig. 21). There was "wind that seared and sun that burned in the way it only can at high altitudes" (Huntford, 1979). In Jules Verne's words, there was water ".from every direction, explosions, landslides, and great inversions of icebergs changed the view like the countryside in a diorama" (Verne, 1870). And we must trust Verne. After all, the first to reach the South Pole was not Amundsen or Scott, but his Captain Nemo, on the 21st of March 1868 (fig. 20). Everybody knows what is behind the ice field, said the Canadian inside Nemo's Nautilus when approaching the South Pole: "Ice, and yet more ice!" (Verne, 1870).


Fig. 20 The (fictional) route of Captain Nemo, 1870.


Fig. 21 Shackleton in the Antarctica photographed by Frank Hurley.
In: ALEXANDER, Caroline. Atrapados en el hielo: la legendaria expedición a la Antártida de Shackleton. Booket viajes y aventuras, Buenos Aires, 2006. Original from the Royal Geographical Society Archives, London.

In this context the sailorman (and not the landsman) was better equipped to the task. The same Fuller, in his Fluid Geography, is well aware of this condition. At sea, and confronted with large quantities of unknowns intervening between identified ports, he explains, "sailors have come to be the only men of commerce dealing directly with the mechanics of the stars. They come early to rely upon instruments and skills of the intellect, upon scientific imagining." More, the sailorman ".sees everything in motion, from the slopping of the coffee in the pot to the peregrinations of the major magnitude stars." For the landsman, Fuller concludes, "the East" and "the West" are places fixed upon the flat surface of the map, while for the sailor, these are directions in which he may move (Fuller, 1963). This seems to be a very relevant distinction. Not by chance Amundsen's men were master navigators, while only one of Scott's men could navigate and he was not taken on the polar party (Theroux, 1979). Scott suffered from the tenacious tendency of approaching the unknown with the tools, categories and classification systems of the known. He was convinced he was getting into a territory, and not into a ground of frozen water filled with complicating factors like wind, current, and drift (Hall, 1972). The prominent polar explorer William Herbert describes some of the uncertainties surrounding ice drift: its dependency on the compactness of the ice cover, the size of the ice flows, the "sail" area, the irregularities on the surface of the floes presented to the wind (Herbert, 1972). The terms used by Herbert such as sail, flow, wind, current and drifting allow us to understand how distant the Antarctic is from being a museum object. Matter of navigation -if perhaps ice navigation- this fluid/frozen geography required a totally different set of tools and procedures, like for instance, Dead Reckoning, (9) an extinct technique which used pocket sextants, Nautical Almanacs and tables to fix positions from celestial bodies (Hall, 1972). The sailorman, navigating through the Antarctic, would use it to orientate himself between astronomically fixed points, judging distance by the speed of the dogs in connection to a sledge wheel for reckoning distances. If they were trotting, walking or galloping, the explorer would have a very good idea of how fast they were going (Hall, 1972). This kind of sledge to record miles on a meter was attached to an ordinary bicycle wheel with tire, and could be maintained on all types of snow and ice (Stephenson, 1951). It was the same little devise used by Amundsen for navigation, aided with a magnetic declination needle (fig. 22). It reminds me of the photograph of Reyner Banham dressed as a cowboy and riding a small-wheeled folding bicycle across a Californian salt flat (fig. 23). He took the smallest architectural construct in attempt of subverting paradigms of architectural permanence. Likewise, Amundsen's sledge and wheel would be an image of the smallest possible piece of equipment that using grid and stars for scientific imagining, would subvert our tenacious tendency at controlling things from above and from the outside in the cartographical fixing of landforms.


Fig. 22 Amundsen's sledge to record miles on a meter attached to a bicycle wheel with tyre.


Fig. 23 Reyner Banham in the California desert. Photo by Tim Street-Porter.
In: ALONSO, Pedro. Deserta. Ediciones ARQ, Santiago, 2012.

But demounting the conceptual frost over Antarctica as first installed by aerial photography is no easy task; after all, it is still romantically considered "the last place on earth" (the title of a recent documentary by Werner Herzog). The widespread belief on a pristine land to be preserved by means of international agreements adds another layer of cold from the rhetoric of geopolitical occupation, and which will only be defrosted in 2048 when the Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty of 1991 (entered into force 1998) will be open for review. In the treaty (Article 2: "Objective and Designation") the Parties "commit themselves to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems and hereby designate Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science," (figs. 24, 25 and 26) and thus making research a form of symbolic capital (Huntford, 1979). But the logics of territorial reclamations by the Parties are not exempt of debates about exploration for oil reserves, with major oil companies encouraging seismic surveys of the profile of the sea-bed, and expeditions under various national flags to collect seabed data on the Ross, Weddell, and Bellingshausen Seas, and off the Antarctic Peninsula (Elzinga and Bohlin, 1989). Finds of copper, uranium and platinum on the continent itself, and larger finds of iron ore and coal have further fuelled speculation about Antarctica (figs. 27, 28, 29, 30 y 31), not as "the last place on earth", but "as the world's last 'treasure chest'" (Elzinga and Bohlin, 1989).


Fig. 24 The seal of the German Antarctic expedition 1938-1939.


Fig. 25 The seal of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes.


Fig. 26 The seal of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators IAATO.


Fig. 27 Under ice lakes in the Antarctica.


Fig. 28 Map: Minerals in the Antarctica. Ag - silver | Au - gold | Co - cobalt | Cu - copper | Cr - chromium | Fe - iron | Mb - molybdenum | Mn - manganese | Ni - nickel | Pb - lead | Ti - titanium | U - uranium | Zn - zinc.

Fig. 29 Map: Potential hydrocarbon in the Antarctica.


Fig. 30 Map: Potential geothermal in the Antarctica.


Fig. 31 Map: Non renewable resources in the Antarctica.

Consequently, within the Antarctic group "there are divisions between prominers who want to exploit the continent, and those who want to put forth environmental protection as an overriding interest."(10) In the Antarctic, science enters a special kind of tradeoff with politicians, "whereby scientists are provided with funds to do research, but in so doing they also perform a political task, advancing the national interests of their own country in a geopolitical arena. Then, the rhetorical import of research activities may be more important for politicians than their actual scientific value" (Elzinga and Bohlin, 1989). This is not, however, different from the early times of Amundsen, who had learned that exploration had to be dressed in scientific clothes in order to get sponsored. For respectability he needed a scientific pretext he then found in the search for the magnetic South- Pole (Huntford, 1979). This reminds Bruno Latour's definition of Science, with a capital S, as "the politicization of the sciences through epistemology in order to render ordinary political life impotent through the threat of an incontestable nature" (Latour, 2004). And there is no place on earth more incontestable than the mystified Antarctic in its supposed pristine and unadulterated original condition, even if we know that the ozone layer has been depleted as well as whales and seals exhausted during the 19th and 20th centuries.

This way of thinking translates itself into architectural tropes connected to the testing of new prototypes of habitation systems and infrastructures based on lightweight, sustainable and non- invasive demountable capsules for Antarctic occupation, somehow in contrast with the actual linkages with the economic, military, jurisdictional, administrative, and political motives that in the first place have created a strong pull in the direction of such applied research (Elzinga and Bohlin, 1989).

But occupation and exploitation are not threats to Antarctic's preservation, not at least if considered unconnected from global weather patterns and the national interests in a geopolitical arena. In fact, what truly affects the present and future of the Antarctic is not just what you build there but also the whole context surrounding it. A 1967 cartoon by Chilly Willy, wonderfully entitled Hot Time On Ice (fig. 32), well summarizes what's really at stake at the Antarctic in connection to issues of navigation. At a weather station at the South Pole, the captain wants Smedley the bear to fly for supplies. Chilly Willy, however, makes the operation impossible as he had spoiled the runway with holes for fishing, with the episode ending with the total destruction of the base, a Cold-War looking underground bunker. Since the Antarctic shall remain untouched, everything -from food to garbage, oil to people, and of course new architectural prototypes- must be taken in and out in cargo ships or planes, within the rhetoric of a blissful nature becoming into the permanent transport and travelling of supplies (fig. 33). In fact, we could assert that the rhetoric of Antarctic occupation, linked to nature, run in different, if not, opposing directions to its logic, linked to transportation.


Fig. 32 Chilly Willy, Hot time on Ice. Walter Lantz Productions, 1967.


Fig. 33 Chilean base Rodolfo March.

And so in terms of structures and infrastructures, they seem less related to the problem of low impact design and construction, than to their actual program of housing the fluctuating Antarctic population, which oscillates between 2,000 and 5,000 people depending on the season. Neither nomad nor entirely permanent, itself token of sovereignty, this population revolves around an externalist motive, becoming "hybrid communities" from the mixing of scientists with planners, politicians, administrators, bureaucrats, and businessmen (Elzinga and Bohlin, 1989). If, however, infrastructure is supposed to be a means to an end, how should we regard population where inhabitation itself is a means for a larger geopolitical goal? To put it briefly, you can only claim sovereignty over the Antarctic if you live there. Ports, runaways, roads, and pipelines, are only equivalent to people: instrumental elements towards the ultimate goal of claiming sovereignty: population itself transformed into a territorial infrastructure.

Within this, the relationship has been inverted. Infrastructure has no being put in place in order to allow human inhabitation, but humans have been sent to the pole in order to allow infrastructure to get hold of the Antarctic in its possible future geopolitical significance. Like any other infrastructure, they are concealed from the view. Accustomed, as we are, to call new things by old names, we are unable to see people as infrastructural components(11) integral to policies of land reclamation. It makes the Chilean Villa Las Estrellas significant, as it claims to be the only real town within a frozen continent filled with scientific bases.

It seems that the group of enthusiastic scientists that have been working within the bases will deal the frost a fatal blow and when the reclamation of water and oil and the mining of minerals start, there will arise oases from which a systematic campaign against plains of ice will be launched. Perhaps, after all, Moreau de Maupertuis was not entirely wrong regarding those who live near the poles. Pushed into these latitudes by other men, and tokens of the politicization of the sciences through the threat of an incontestable nature, they shall be either despised or feared upon the annihilation of the Antarctic.

For architecture and infrastructure not to approach ice, wind and water with the wrong conceptual framework and equipment, like Scott, "bringing ponies to Antarctica', we might have to reject it as a blank land where to investigate old architectural clichés of lightweight prototypes, turning our attention towards the limits of a conceptual framework born out of territorial and urban traditions and the fixing of landforms by means of either aerial photography or linear drawing.

In fact, not only the concept of territory is to be contested, but also the status of ideas of town and city. This, because streets and squares have no meaning in a place where outside life is impossible, but fundamentally and rather paradoxically because of fire. Wind is so strong that in the case of a fire, it will quickly propagate into the rest of the building and adjacent installations. Because water is frozen, there is not manner to stop the fire. It rends any typical aggrupation of buildings impossible and provides the settlement with an organization based in the scattered distribution of rather fragmented and atomized programs (fig. 34). It thus dictates the adequate size of buildings (never too large) (unless underground), and forbids housing and urban blocks composed of attached houses. While ice and wind determines the environment, fire determines human inhabitation and infrastructure.

Going back to Chilly Willy's dilemma, the question remains in how to conceive images that would subvert the permanent travelling of supplies in connection with the inner workings of the Antarctic ecosystem. It remains as whether we shall perform yet another twist to the mythical grid, or rather rehearse images right inserted within the trophic web, perhaps inspired in dead reckoning through the fluctuating waters of the Antarctic surface. A kind of diagram no longer governed by geometry. Diagrams that would replace the assumed relationships between infrastructure and people -as deduced from other known territorial latitudes- understanding people as infrastructure. Such new diagram would perhaps skip the idealization of an incontestable nature -in itself an 18th century concept- replacing the rhetorical ethos of Antarctic preservation by reassuring the unavoidable transformative powers of architecture, and taking the Antarctic out of the museum by subverting the ideals of ephemeral lightweight construction. After all, the question is not whether it will change or not, but how, according to which project, and with what consequences for architectural knowledge in the revision of a whole set of conceptual equipment and vocabulary. The image chosen might not be the totalizing aerial photograph and Google Earth version, but the combination of technologies inserted within the Antarctic trophic web transformed into the site of intervention (figs. 35, 36). That, at least, is where I would start my enquiry. Returning to Barthes, I would start with no more than a few elements, the ones I am are sure that exist. Nothing to do with a corpus or a general theory: only some bodies. That is to say: no longer a map of the world or a universal diagram but a theory for each journey, a mathesis singularis for Antarctica (Barthes, 1980).


Fig. 34 Chilean base Presidente Frei Base and Russian base Bellinghausen.


Fig. 35 Diagram BAU Business As Usual. Receive supplies from other continents, including energy, food, materials and equipment. The main energy consumption relates to heating, snow ploughing and indoor electricity. Solid and liquid waste is sent back to the continent. Vehicles are run with petrol.

Fig. 36 Diagram DTI Technological Integration. Infrastructural plug-ins both for energy and supplies. In terms of energy, incorporates solar panels and wind turbines. Energy savings are allowed by better insulation in walls and surfaces. In order to avoid snow ploughing the buildings have telescopic mechanisms to go up and down. A Smart grid connects and distributes energy according to hierarchy. Food is produced onsite by means of a mini-hydroponic farm. Solid and liquid waste are treated and reused. There are no vehicles run with petrol.

 

Notes

1. The author presented this article at the Phyllis Lambert Seminar "Territorial Infrastructures" at the École d'Architecture, Université de Montréal in 2012.

2. Grosvenor quotes The Voyage of The Discovery, by Robert F. Scott.

3. There are two inhabitable sections of the earth: one near our upper, or northern pole, the other near the southern pole; and their shape is like that of a tambourine.

4. Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, French topographer born on 1698. In 1732, he started spreading the Newton's theory in France; in 1736 Maurepas appointed him Chief of the Northern Pole expedition to measure the Meridian Arc, mission that he accomplished successfully after a year and originated the book Sur la figure de la terre (1738). Due this contribution Frédéric I appointed him president of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, where he held a controversy with Samuel Koenig regarding the authorship of the principle of least action.

5. Four years after this proposal another story started to unfold out of the obscurities of the Terra Incognita. According to Summerhayes and Beeching, in one of the less well-known Antarctic expeditions, and using a vessel named Schwabenland, in December 1938 and April 1939 the Germans visited the western part of what is now known as Dronning Maud, concerned as they were about the future of the German whaling industry. This mission was therefore planned to claim a piece of Antarctica and to find there a place suitable for a base for the German whaling fleet. The next documented event occurred on July 1945, two months after the German surrender, when the German U-530 Boat entered Argentine naval base at Mar del Plata. Disregarding the news of Hitler's suicide on April 30th, many believed that the vessel had somehow spirited Hitler, Eva Brown, and Martin Bormann out of Germany and had reached what they called 'New Berchtesgaden' in Antarctica, landing in a special hiding place built during the 1939 expedition to Dronning Maud Land. According to some authors, this base was constructed with the help of alien entities described as Aryans, becoming source of the most spectacular tales about both atomic espionage and stories warships of space. American Highjump and British Tabarin secret missions were supposed to be military reactions to this story. While, according to Summerhayes and Beeching, there is no evidence in support of any of such claims, something about the uncharted nature of those lands keep rendering the Antarctic specially prone to fiction, myth and speculation, ranging from Nazi's imaginary to perfect location for alien landing, as also manifested in the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, based on Don A. Stuart's 1938 novel; or the more contemporary X Files or Alien versus Predator.

6. Life, March 1, 1934 (Editorial staff contribution).

7. Westerman states: "A third possibility occurred to me: could it be that maps and books of Soviet manufacture accurately reflected a socialist reality? And if so, how did that reality differ from ours?".

8. As Barthes stated in his essay The Grain of the Voice.

9. In navigation, "dead reckoning" (also DED (for deduced) reckoning or DR) is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time, and course. "Dead reckoning" using best estimates of speed and direction is subject to cumulative errors. Advances in navigational aids which give accurate information on position, in particular satellite navigation using the Global Positioning System, has made simple dead reckoning by humans obsolete for most purposes; however, inertial navigation systems, which provide very accurate directional information, use dead reckoning and are very widely applied. By analogy with their navigational use, the words dead reckoning are also used to mean the process of estimating the value of any variable quantity by using an earlier value and adding whatever changes have occurred in the meantime. Often, this usage implies that the changes are not known accurately. The earlier value and the changes may be measured or calculated quantities.

10. Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Sweden belong to the latter category, while the pro-mining lobby includes Germany, Russia, Japan, the us, uk, France, and possibly Italy, and amongst developing countries Brazil and India. Aant Elzinga e Ingemar Bohlin. "The Politics of Science in Polar Regions", in: Ambio, Vol. 18, No. 1, Polar Regions (1989), p. 72.

11. Like this, the Chilean base Eduardo Frei might have the special significance of having taken this to an extreme claiming that Villa Las Estrellas is not a base but a proper urban settlement within the continent.

 

Referentes

ALDUNATE, Carla. La Liga de las Religiones como utopía de congregación. Unpublished document from the 2011 Research Studio at Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture, tutor Marcelo Sarovic. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, December 2011.

BARTHES, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Original from 1980, trad. Richard Howard. Hill and Wang, New York, 2010. p. 4, 8, 13.

COSGROVE, Denis. "Ptolemy and Vitruvius: spatial representation in the sixteenth-century texts and commentaries". In PICON, Antoine and Alessandra PONTE (eds.). Architecture and the Sciences: Exchanging Metaphors. Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2003, p. 21, 28, 48, 49.

COYER, François- Gabriel. Sobre los Gigantes Patagones: carta del Abate François- Gabriel Coyer al doctor Maty, secretario de la Royal Society de Londres. Original from 1767, trad. Alamiro de Avila Martel. Editorial Universitaria - Serie Curiosa Americana, Santiago, 1984, p. 83, 85, 86.

ELZINGA, Aant e Ingemar BOHLIN. "The Politics of Science in Polar Regions". Ambio Vol. 18 No 1 - Polar Regions. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, 1989, p. 72, 74, 75.

FULLER, Buckminster. "Fluid Geography". Ideas and Integrities. Collier, New York, 1963, p. 119, 123.

HALL, Donald. N. "Land Navigation for Travellers and Small Expeditions". The Geographical Journal Vol. 138 No 3. The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), London, September de 1972, p. 344, 345.

GROSVENOR. Gilbert H. "An Ice Wrapped Continent". National Geographic Vol. 17 No 2. National Geographic Society, Washington, February 1907, p. 95.

OLSON BELANGER, Dian. Deep Freeze, The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica's Age of Science. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, 2006, p. 7.

HERBERT, Wally W. Across the top of the world. The British Trans-Arctic Expedition. Prentice Hall Press, Upper Saddle River, 1969.

HUNTFORD, Roland. Scott and Amundsen: Their Race to the South Pole. Original from 1979. Abacus, London, 2012, p. 33, 68, 97,143.

JOERG, Wolfgang Louis Gottfried. "The Cartographical Results of Ellsworth's Trans-Antarctic flight of 1935". Geographical Review Vol. 27 No 3. The American Geographical Society, New York, July 1937, p. 430-444.

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STEPHENSON, Alfred. "Surveying in the Falkland Islands Dependencies". Polar Record Vol. 6 No 41. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, January 1951, p. 28-44.

THEROUX, Paul. "Racers to the Pole". In HUNTFORD, Roland. Scott and Amundsen: their race to the South Pole. Original from 1979. Abacus, London, 2012, p. IX, VIII.

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WESTERMAN, Frank. Engineers of the soul. Original from 2002, trad. Sam Garrett. The Overlook Press, New York, 2011, p. 6.

 

1. Pedro Alonso. Architect and Master in Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2000 and Doctor in Architecture (Ph.D), The Architectural Association, 2008. He teaches in The Architectural Association since 2005, where he is currently a visiting professor in the Master in History and Critical Thinking. In 2010 he got a research grant from The Getty Research Institute and in 2011 was a visiting scholar at The Canadian Centre for Architecture CCA - Montreal. He is currently a professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture and director of its Magíster en Arquitectura program MARQ.

2. UMWELT. Architecture and Territorial Design Studio dedicated to research and professional practice, founded in Santiago in 2011 by Ignacio García Partarrieu and Arturo Scheidegger. Both got their professional diploma and master degree at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. They have been visiting instructors at the Workshop AA Chile and were finalists at the Young Architects Program YAP Constructo 2013 in Chile. Their work has been awarded in public competitions and has been showcased at the biennials of Venezia (2013), Shenzhen and Hong Kong (2011) and Santiago (2012).

ALDUNATE, Carla. La Liga de las Religiones como utopía de congregación. Documento inéditodel Taller de Investigación Escuela de Arquitectura Universidad Católica de Chile del profesor Marcelo Sarovic. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, diciembre de 2011.         [ Links ]

BARTHES, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Original de 1980, trad. Richard Howard. Hill and Wang, Nueva York, 2010. p. 4, 8, 13.         [ Links ]

COSGROVE, Denis. "Ptolemy and Vitruvius: spatial representation in the sixteenth-century texts and commentaries". En PICON, Antoine y Alessandra PONTE (eds.). Architecture and the Sciences: Exchanging Metaphors. Princeton Architectural Press, Nueva York, 2003, p. 21, 28, 48, 49.         [ Links ]

COYER, François- Gabriel. Sobre los Gigantes Patagones: carta del Abate François- Gabriel Coyer al doctor Maty, secretario de la Royal Society de Londres. Original de 1767, trad. Alamiro de Avila Martel. Editorial Universitaria - Serie Curiosa Americana, Santiago, 1984, p. 83, 85, 86.         [ Links ]

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FULLER, Buckminster. "Fluid Geography". Ideas and Integrities. Collier, Nueva York, 1963, p. 119, 123.         [ Links ]

HALL, Donald. N. "Land Navigation for Travellers and Small Expeditions". The Geographical Journal Vol. 138 No 3. The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), Londres, septiembre de 1972, p. 344, 345.         [ Links ]

GROSVENOR. Gilbert H. "An Ice Wrapped Continent". National Geographic Vol. 17 No 2. National Geographic Society, Washington, febrero de 1907, p. 95.         [ Links ]

OLSON BELANGER, Dian. Deep Freeze, The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica's Age of Science. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, 2006, p. 7.         [ Links ]

HERBERT, Wally W. Across the top of the world. The British Trans-Arctic Expedition. Prentice Hall Press, Upper Saddle River, 1969.         [ Links ]

HUNTFORD, Roland. Scott and Amundsen: Their Race to the South Pole. Original de 1979. Abacus, Londres, 2012, p. 33, 68, 97,143.         [ Links ]

JOERG, Wolfgang Louis Gottfried. "The Cartographical Results of Ellsworth's Trans-Antarctic flight of 1935". Geographical Review Vol. 27 No 3. The American Geographical Society, Nueva York, julio de 1937, p. 430-444.         [ Links ]

LATOUR, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2004, p. 10.         [ Links ]

STEPHENSON, Alfred. "Surveying in the Falkland Islands Dependencies". Polar Record Vol. 6 No 41. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, enero de 1951, p. 28-44.         [ Links ]

THEROUX, Paul. "Racers to the Pole". En HUNTFORD, Roland. Scott and Amundsen: their race to the South Pole. Original de 1979. Abacus, Londres, 2012, p. IX, VIII.         [ Links ]

VERNE, Jules. Veinte mil leguas de viaje submarino. Original de 1870, trad. William Butsher. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, p. 295, 293.         [ Links ]

WESTERMAN, Frank. Engineers of the soul. Original de 2002, trad. Sam Garrett. The Overlook Press, Nueva York, 2011, p. 6.         [ Links ]

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