Antarctic inspirations for Enlighten Festival

Media release: Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The people, sights and sounds of Antarctica are coming to life at the National Archives this weekend, with a new exhibition and special events for the Enlighten festival.

'We saw the centenary of Douglas Mawson's expedition to Antarctica as an ideal opportunity to share more of our Antarctic holdings with the Australian people,' said Kylie Roth, manager of events and exhibitions at the National Archives.

Among the highlights of the Enlighten festival will be evening concerts by acclaimed harpist Alice Giles at the National Archives on 9 and 10 March. They feature visual and audio material gathered by Alice on her 2011 trip as an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow to Davis and Mawson stations. Alice, who is the granddaughter of Antarctic expeditioner Dr Cecil Madigan, played her harp on the ice and also allowed the environment itself to create music on the instrument's strings.

Visitors will also have the opportunity of experiencing the stark beauty of Antarctica through historic film footage from the archival vaults. This visual imagery will accompany an eerie soundscape by experimental sound artist Philip Samartzis, who recorded icebergs, glaciers, sea ice and frozen lakes at Davis Station during his Antarctic arts fellowships.

'We were so fortunate that both Alice and Philip were available to take part in our Enlighten events. It's a one-off opportunity for people to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of Antarctica, with the help of two people who have experienced it at first hand and who are willing to share their personal experiences,' said Kylie Roth.

Accompanying the concert and soundscapes is Down South – Australian tradies in Antarctica. The exhibition by photographer Susan Gordon-Brown, tells the stories of 25 intrepid tradespeople who ventured into the Antarctic from 1947 until the 1980s. It is on display for four days only (from 9 to 12 March) as part of the Enlighten festival.

Bookings ($50 per ticket) for the Alice Giles evening concerts on 9 and 10 March can be made through Ticketek. All other events and exhibitions have free entry. Details are available on the National Archives website

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e
  • Melanie Harwood (Assistant Director, Communications)
    t (02) 6212 3755 m 0422 535 213 e
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