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In 1897, S. A. Andrée and his crew set out to reach the North Pole on an aerostatic hydrogen balloon. After traversing a few hundred kilometres, they were forced to land on the ice and died on their way back to civilisation.

Nya Småland invitied Axel Straschnoy to do a residency at the Grenna Museum Polarcenter in 2018. Out of that residency came Float a new project for the museum’s collection.

For Float, Straschnoy created a buoy inspired by the one Andrée was planning to drop on the North Pole from his balloon. He launched it into the sea off the coast of Lofoten, into the Norwegian current. The current carries water along the west coast of Norway, towards Svalbard. A part of it continues towards the Arctic. Thus, a buoy let loose into it has some chance to make it to the Arctic. Once there, there is a non-zero chance of it getting frozen-in in the Arctic ice. Once part of the Arctic ice, there is a non-zero chance it will one day be over the North Pole. The possibilities are slim, yes, but so were Andrée’s.

Borges writes in Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote about a man who set down to write a book and rewrote Quixote by chance. In this spirit, Straschnoy launched the buoy, in the spirit of the improbable but possible act—a spirit that marked Andrée’s expedition, if not on a conscious level on a very real one.

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Credits

A project by Axel Straschnoy

Commissioned by Jonatan Habib Engqvist and Mike Bode for Nya Småland

In collaboration with the Grenna Museum Polarcenter / Håkan Jorikson

3D Design support: Albert Laine

Seaworthiness consulting: Javier Casabé

Arctic currents consulting: Øystein Skagseth and Jussi T. Eronen

Manufacturing consulting: Alejandro Fuhrmann and Sami Supply

Design consulting: Rodrigo Bertotto

Launched to the sea during a residency at the Maaretta Jaukkuri Foundation at the invitation of Maaretta Jaukkuri

Local help and support: AK Dolven, Thora Dolven Balke and Annika Wiström

Launch Photographs: Gustav Gunvaldsen and AK Dolven

Produced by Kolme Perunaa