Arctic Utopia is a collaborative project with Marek Ranis and Joan Naviyuk Kane, which will result in a play, film and multimedia installation based upon the narratives gathered from members of Alaska Native climate-displaced communities.
The narratives will be gathered through extensive field research performed over 2014 and 2015. The work seeks to remove the exotic quality of representation that results in the “othering” of Indigenous people and to explore the dichotomies of energy-dependent cultures of the North. Much of Ranis’ work is about capturing the sublime character of the Arctic landscape, with its implied connotations of unspoiled land contrasted with the political, economic, and cultural turmoil brought by climate change.
In residence with the Anchorage Museum since 2013, with support from the Rasmuson Foundation, Ranis has, throughout, produced work that explores the social and historical framework and the response to climate change in the context of post-colonial theory. He has thus far conducted field research that has produced over a dozen audiovisual interviews, footage that presents a complexity of expressive narratives specific to the region and which demonstrate universal attitudes and perceptions.
Ranis is a visual artist who incorporates social, political, and ecological issues into his multimedia work, which includes video, installation and sculpture. Originally from Poland, Ranis is currently an assistant professor of art history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Since 2004, Ranis has worked on an artistic project called Albedo, which focuses on global climate change, and grew out of research travels and project presentations in Alaska, Iceland, Greenland, and Australia.
Joan Naviyuk Kane is an Iñupiaq American poet with family from King island and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She graduated from Harvard College and from Columbia University with an MFA. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
The 2012 residency of Marek Ranis at the Anchorage Museum was part of the Artist in Residence program of the Rasmuson Foundation and was in collaboration with the McColl Center of Art + Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina.