The first time I used in a text the words ‘climate change’

Tags: Sophie Calle

Yesterday I buried my mother’s jewels on Northern Glacier. I was Lucky. A few  meters further south and I would have landed on  Starvation Glacier.

She had a dream. Go to the North Pole. It was a part of our life: One day she would go. She died two years ago having preserved her dream. I guess  that’s why she never went.

I never had this dream. It was hers. But I was invited to go to the North Pole. And may be I went a little for her. To take her there.

In my suitcase : a photo, a necklace, a ring.

I chose a portrait of her in the snow. Winter holidays.

Her white and red Chanel necklace. I grew up with those pearls around her neck.

And her diamond ring. During the war my grandfather, running away from the Germans to hide  in the mountains of Grenoble, afraid a building  he owned would be seized, exchanged it for a diamond ring. Not a good deal. My grandmother did not talk to him for a year.

So I waited to reach the most northern place of this trip, where I could go ashore with my mother.

Laurie, my roomate on the boat, suggested that, if  the weather did not allow us to do so, I still could flush the ring down the toilet. Actually, it is a thought my mother would have loved. During a few minutes I imagine her laughing to tears to this idea. But the weather was good.

I chose a beautiful stone in the center of the beach

I buried the portrait, the necklace, the diamond. Cried a little. Took a photo. Martha sang a verse of Marylin Monroe –  my  mother’s other passion along with the North Pole -  diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Now, my mother has gone to the North Pole.

I wonder if her glacier will advance or retreat, if the climate changes will carry her to the sea  to be taken north by the West Greenland current, or retreat up the valley towards the ice cap, or if she will stay on the beach as a marker in time where the glacier was  in the holocene period.

And maybe in thousands of years, specialists in glaciology will find her ring and discuss endlessly this flash of diamond in  Inuit culture.

Or if  a  treasure hunter or beachcomber will discover it and exchange it for a house in the mountains of Grenoble.

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5 Comments

  1. Linda

    Posted Sunday 5 Oct at 14:33 | Permalink

    Sophie: This is so touching. To leave part of our loved ones in wonderful places. My parents always wanted to spend their retirement year traveling the country – never happened, Dad confined to wheelchair. So I have been leaving small piles of their ashes at the horse shows I visited this summer and at all the KT Tunstall concerts I have been to this year. In a flower bed at Meijer Gardens, along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in the pines at Interlochen, amongst cornstalks at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Places they never were, but now always will be ………

  2. mary veale

    Posted Sunday 5 Oct at 16:39 | Permalink

    lISUAL ARTISTOVE THIS IDEA YOUR MOTHER WOULD TOO AND THE PEARLS WILL SURVIVE INTO THE FUTURE POWERFUL tHE STORY OF YOUR FATHER IS VERY INTERESTING ALSO AS I LIVE IN GRENOBLE THE CLIMATE CHANGES HAVE VERY MUCH EFFECTED THE FRENCH ALPS SO MAYBE YOUR NEXT PROJECT WOULD BE FOR YOUR FATHER ;bEST WISHES mARY VEALE IRISH VISUAL ARTIST

  3. cathy wills

    Posted Monday 6 Oct at 13:30 | Permalink

    this follows all your work, remembrance, sadness, loss, interest in women, family – sweetness too. Well done again Sophie.
    I will continue to read the blogs with interest (ps I know Dave Buckland from years ago, too) Keep well and warm
    Cathy
    Curator in London and Paris

  4. Deanna J

    Posted Monday 6 Oct at 14:48 | Permalink

    I am speechless. The beauty of this is indescribable.

  5. kristin

    Posted Thursday 16 Oct at 15:56 | Permalink

    i may be kind of incompetent when it comes to finding homepages, yours is hidden. anyway. I´ve been trying to reach you because im very intressed in your work with elder and youth in stockholm. Im trying to make a reasearch at konstfack stockholm about charing visual worlds. Anyway. Why dont you send me an email and tell me about your project? im interested in your experience of “the making of knowledge” that the participants made.
    by the way, i spent a few weeks between illulisat and kangeslussuaq this summer. it was wonderful, especially diskobay.

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