Letter to the Future Featured in Venice Exhibition

In February 2019, IPF Founder and BELARE Expedition Leader Alain Hubert assisted American artist Jessica Houston with the unique Letter to the Future project in which Alain placed a time capusule in the ice in Antarctica to be found by future generations a thousand years from now. The project is curently being exhibited at the Estonian Pavillion at the Venice Bienniale.

Jessica wanted to address future generations by sending them cultural testimony through ice and time. She devised Letter to the Future , which includes a variety of contributors from around the world who contributed letters to be read by future generations. Noteworthy letter writers include poet Anne Michaels, former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Okalik Eegeesiak, and Polar Explorer Bernard Voyer.

Jessica collected all of the unopened letters and put them into a 40 cm x 6.4 cm time capsule, which consists of a Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) instrument, an oceanographic tool typically used to measure the paramenters its name suggests. She then sent the time capsule to Alain Hubert to deploy it while in Antarctica during the 2018-2019 resaerch season.

While taking annual snow depth measurments for the GLACIOCLIM project in February 2019, Alain Hubert deployed the time capsule by placing it in a shallow hole he drilled in the ice sheet. The idea is that over the next thousand years or so, as the ice on the surface of the ice sheet slowly flows towards the coast of Antarctica, the time capsule will eventually arrive at the coast and be released from the ice. They hope it will then wash up on a shore somewhere and be found by people in the future.

When asked why he wanted to contribute to the project, Alain said, "I like contributing to projects related to future generations. The Princess Elisabeth Antarctica was built to make the world better for futre generations."

Letter to the Future is a 1,000-year collaboration with ice to provoke consideration of our present and the possibilities for our future,” according to the project website.

This work of Jessica Houston will be exposed in Venice as part of the exhibition Terra Nova: looking at the present and the future presented by Art Mûr Gallery, from April 21st - July 2nd, 2022 at the Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Lego e Legno Art Space, Guidecca 211.