PANARCHY: Camp Century, Greenland 

 

Panarchy: A cyclical system made up of four key phases: conservation (control), release (change), exploitation (control) and change (re-organization).  

 

By depicting this specific cycle of global warming made up of six seemingly non-connected events into one connected work, each painting by itself shows one of the phases of the Panarchy cycle; the shadows projected from the six paintings together into one image show the full devastating image of Panarchy.  

 

“When the camp was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall. A 2016 study found that the portion of the ice sheet covering Camp Century would start to melt by the year 2100, if current trends continue. When the ice melts, the camp’s infrastructure, as well as any remaining biological, chemical and radioactive waste, will re-enter the environment and potentially disrupt nearby ecosystems.” 

These nearby effected ecosystems, mostly to the one of the people indigenous to that area – the Inuit’s: toxins are absorbed into the local crops and produce, which in turn are then passed through to the people, then lastly of all babies nursing at their mothers breasts. The Cold War continues and victimizes to this day having transformed into what could only be described as a  “Warming War”. 

 

For this project, the artwork is only able to show two of the phases in Panarchy: those of exploitation and release; there hasn’t been enough re-organization or conservation (the last two stages of the cycle) for change to present itself in this particular instance. 

 

By using separate colors for each panel, and the panels then coming together to make a gray/blue gradient with brown accents, the colors and highlighting are symbolic of the six specific events; the coolness of the color gradient also being symbolic of the location and the climate:  

 

1. Floating ice: White with light blue accents. Global warming: the freezing cold of the ice turning from a solid into a liquid, shown by the light blue accents. This image also represents the natural burial of the facility when it was abandoned.  

Phase: Release 

 

2. Inuit babies nursing: Brown with black accents. The brown representing the color of the earth, the toxins going into the food of the mothers, which then go into the babies who nurse from the mothers.  

Phase: Release 

 

3. Caution - Radiation Area: Black with red accents. Representing the warning of the toxins from Camp Century, to show up starkly against the landscape of the blues and grays.  

Phase: Exploitation 

 

4. Farmer: Dark blue with brown accents. The climate of the region, changing from cold to warm, due to global warming; the farmers connection with the earth, represented by the brown.  

Phase: Release 

 

5. Tunnel with stacks: Light blue with gray accents. The uncovering of the Camp due to global warming, the blue representing the melting of snow and ice, and the industry of the camp with gray.  

Phase: Release 

 

6. Tunnel with Pipes: Gray with white accents, representing the industry of the camp with gray, the temperature of the 1960’s climate of the area with white.  

Phase: Exploitation