Arctic Magnetograms. Mediating Arctic Geographies Finland 2022.

2022 Sammler, K. and Hartman, L. Arctic Magnetograms: Stitches in Space. Mediating Arctic Geographies: Contemporary Imaginaries of the Circumpolar World, Tampere University, Finland, 24-26 Jan.


TITLE: Arctic Magnetograms: Stitches in Space

AUTHORS: Lauren Hartman, California State University Maritime and Katherine G. Sammler, Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity

ABSTRACT: The Arctic region situates us in regards to an uncertain future, as a focal point for climate change anxieties and associated geopolitical tensions. But it also orients us to our place on the planet, through both the geographic and magnetic North Pole. This magnetic vertex is the manifestation of the spinning core of iron that generates a planetary field and cosmic shield, connecting the planetary surface to its deep interior, as well as to other bodies in the solar system, in particular the Sun. While our magnetosphere protects Earth from Sun’s cosmic ray bombardment, photons pass and via the greenhouse effect have accelerated ice melt, leading to the redistribution of mass equatorward and causing polar shift.

While the Arctic and pole are viewed prominently through a scientific lens, we seek to represent these forces, fields, connections, and orientations visually through textiles. Using art as a catalyst for recontextualizing the magnetosphere, we think with our fingers to mediate the emanations of the earth that are presemiotic, using sewing to reflect on process and theory.Just as “temperature blankets” weave daily values into annual climate textiles, materializing magnetic  moments into a tangible and functional craft, this project is an experiment — with theory and threads, fields and fabrics, methods and materials — to explore Earth’s magnetosphere. This collaboration brings a geographer and an artist together digitally across two hemispheres to hand sew embroideries, which represent the magnetic force throughcircumpolar navigation using metallic threads and various fabrics. The embroideries will mediate continuous fields as discrete lines, creating a kind of topo map of this ephemeral phenomenon. We will physically stitch imaginaries of the circumpolar world. This visual art project is intended to construct a deeper understanding of the relations behind electromagnetism in the North Pole. 

Mediating Arctic Geographies: Contemporary Imaginaries of the Circumpolar World