You Can Now Get a Passport to Antarctica

Either go to New York, or do it online
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2016 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – If you want to get your hands on a passport to Antarctica, you now can, sort of, Hyperallergic reports. But instead of bureaucrats and red tape, you'll head to New York City's Jane Lombard Gallery, where artist Lucy Orta tells the New York Times that you'd best be prepared to vow that you'll uphold "the inherent dignity of every member of the human race." You'll also need to agree to "protect the environment, take account for my daily footprint, and agree to help people in distress." Lucy and Jorge Orta are the France-based artistic duo who created the Antarctica World Passport Delivery Bureau exhibit, which is a makeshift office that issues the so-called Antarctica World Passports, described as "a universal passport for a continent without borders." The Ortas have printed 55,000 since they did a 2007 installation in Antarctica, and a virtual option has issued 12,000 more.

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A second exhibit, Antarctica, centers on the Antarctic Village—No Borders the pair constructed during a trip to the South Pole in 2007 as part of the first End of the World Biennial. The display includes a dome tent adorned with the flags of nations who signed the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and life vests festooned with objects, such as flasks and cooking utensils. (Per Hyperallergic: "There isn’t much explanation for their meaning.") The exhibits celebrate the treaty, which declared Antarctica to be peaceful and free of ownership by any country. They also seek to raise awareness, per the Times, of the impending 2048 sunset of the 1991 agreement that protects resources—oil, coal, and possible diamonds—below Antarctica's icy surface. But as far as practical implications, Lucy Orta says the passports are just "an art project, if ever we’re questioned." (Read more art stories.)

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