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Indepth Arts News:

"Rebuilding The Tower of Babel: A Project by Adam Kossoff"
2003-02-21 until 2004-02-20
Vostok Research Station
East Antarctica, , AQ Antarctica

The Tower of Babel is being rebuilt out of ice blocks in the Antarctic. Building will begin on February 21st 2003. A new level will be added every year.  A private View will be held 6-10pm Friday 21st  February 2003 at Vostok Research Station, Lake Vostok, East Antarctica. Lat./Long.: 78°27'51"S 106°51'57"E "Only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build." Martin Heidegger, Building, Dwelling, Thinking. Elsewhere’s concerns are that impossible place where many of us seem driven to live. Nothing ends in this elsewhere, everything is a new beginning. Every new beginning takes us forward into some other place that will never exist. Even if we arrive at the place we are looking for, we wouldn’t recognise it. Nor could we. For we are in the elsewhere, neither here nor there, always somewhere else, blind to the attributes of space and place. Is this not where you are now?

Vostok is located by the South Geomagnetic Pole, at the centre of the East Antarctic ice sheet. The coldest recorded temperature on Earth,  -89.2°C, was measured here in 1983. Vostok is operated as a permanent Antarctic station by the Russian Federation and is the most isolated of any Antarctic Base. Russian researchers spend 14 months at a time in Vostok. 

Vostok Lake is one of the largest lakes in the world, its waters sealed from air and light for as long as 40 million years by the glacier that covers it. The deepest ice core ever, 3650m deep, has been drilled into the glacier by a joint U.S., Russian, and French team. The core has revealed a 400,000-year environmental record with micro-organisms present throughout most of the core.

But drilling was stopped 100 meters from the surface of the lake to prevent contamination by kerosene used for drilling and by bacteria from the atmosphere. Some scientists now argue for the continuation of drilling, believing that it’s not a lake but an area of semi-frozen permafrost and therefore would remain unaffected by the dangers of contamination. Others feel that the risk of contamination is too large a risk. NASA are developing remote controlled cryobots that will penetrate into the lake, allowing the ice to freeze behind it, supposedly reducing the risk of contamination.

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