No Man’s Land Svalbard, the fourth volume of Arctic Visions tells the human dimension of the Svalbard islands.
Nowadays speaking of “no man’s land” refers to poised borders, to dangerous, uncertain and bare land. If we fly over this wonderful Land that welcomes us, it is easy to be surprised by the incredible continuity of the landscapes, plains and mountains, cities and countryside. From the deep south to the far north.
One Earth. Of all.
Here, in the Svalbard Islands, at minus 40 degrees during the day and in a 24-hour-long night, in the most inhospitable place of the planet, without history and without native peoples, man lives in full respect of the rhythms of Nature. Here, the ice becomes tears on the scarred faces of new modern explorers on Svalbard: seeking refuge, seeking home. Own home. Today hundreds of different peoples live here, united by the dream and the fatigue of living among the ice. Everyone here for a reason. Because you are not born in Svalbard, you land there. And then, you born again.
Here, the contrasts explode. A single town with colorful houses built on permafrost that plunge into the blue hour like an rediscovered Atlantis at the bottom of the sea. Lights in the houses tremble and pulsate like fireflies in a humid summer night.
In Svalbard you feel that you could raise your arm and touch God. Between you and the celestial immensity not even the sun, in this polar night that comes to an end during our journey, and a diffused light envelops us in an eternal sunset from morning to evening .
It is twilight. GЪtterdКmmerung, the end of Gods, in Norse mythology. Those who live here live in the balance, they live without knowing what will happen the next day, they live with the awareness that here – for sure – they will not stay forever. Here, man lives suspended. Suspended in this alternation of lights and shadows so grazing at the heart that it does not generate contrasts. It would be so easy to understand immediately what is white and what is black, what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. It would be enough to decide which side to be on to always find a small refuge, where to light your lantern. And instead, our twilight of the Gods that today becomes the twilight of Man, is frightening because you do not know exactly what is going to happen, and deep down it makes you even more afraid to recognize that a lot depends on you.
Balance is an innate ability that you need to exercise every day. Then there will be refuge, and there will be your heart.
With the contribution of:
Isacco Emiliani (photography and Video), Riccardo Astolfi (storytelling),