Publication Details

Ballard, S. "Erewhon: media, ecology, and utopia in the antipodes." Relive Media Art Histories. Ed.S. Cubitt and P. Thomas. London: MIT Press, 2013, 191-208.

Link to publisher version (URL)

MIT Press

Additional Publication Information

ISBN: 9780262019422


On June 22, 2005, an essay by the Association of Freed Time was published in Artforum International. With little contextual information, "El Diaro del Fin del Mundo: A Journey That Wasn't" described environmental damage to the Antarctic ice shelf and the subsequent mutations that were occurring within the Antarctic ecosystem. One of these mutants was rumored to be a solitary albino penguin, living on an uncharted island near Marguerite Bay. The Artforum article tells of French artist Pierre Huyghe's journey with ten others to find the island and its mysterious inhabitant. The article forms the first part of an event that culminated in a musical on the Wollman ice rink in New York's Central Park. The expedition, film, installation, narrative, and performance A journey That Wasn't documents the construction of an antipodean elsewhere, and at the same time suspends long-held distinctions between fiction and reality. Questions remain over whether Huyghe and his team undertook the trip and if so what it was they found there.