11 septembrie 2014


Henry told me about the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program of the National Science Foundation, to which anybody can apply. This was fortunate, as not being a pilot, scientist, mechanic or chef I had little to contribute to the community in Antarctica. I made a strange, wild application, explaining that though I was curious about insanity among mammals and, specifically, derangement in penguins, I wasn’t going to make a film about the animals. My application made no secret of the fact that I was interested in certain species of ants that keep flocks of plant lice as slaves, milking them for droplets of glucose, and wondered why a sophisticated animal like a chimpanzee doesn’t utilise inferior creatures, for example straddling a goat and riding off into the sunset. To my surprise, the National Science Foundation invited me down. There are Nobel Prize winners lined up hoping to go to Antarctica, so I have no idea why my application was successful. Once I finished the film, but before I screened it to anyone, the Foundation told me they hoped it could be used as an educational tool. I told them perhaps in a poetry class, but probably not a science one. I later learnt that James Cameron applied to make a film about Antarctica, though we’ll probably never know what his plans were because his application was turned down. It seems that the minimum number of people in his crew would have been something like thirty.