Deborah O’Connell and Carol Devine

We are creating an art piece on board, to express our journey to the Antarctic, and our exploration of ourselves. The ArtSci project is led by Carol Devine and a pre-departure smaller project team we’ve been participants in, and has contributions from everyone on board with Homeward Bound. Fabian Dattner, the Homeward Bound leader asked our project consider these three principles during the journey: continuous (made over the entire journey except for any bad weather days), contiguous (a section of it made over 10 years of this initiative) and archival (materials). The map is attached onto a 4.5m long piece of linen.

One part of the art piece has a map of the Antarctic, which has our fingerpainted Homeward Bound symbol inside the map of the continent. Our ship route from Ushuaia is embroidered in multi-coloured yarn on the Antarctic Peninsula. Different people have drawn some of the creatures we have seen along the way on the outside of the map, plus sundry mythological creatures such as the kraken. The map will be framed by colourcoded squares of fabric representing the data from the daily log book – maximum and minimum air temperatures, and windspeed according to the Beaufort Scale.  Alison Davies, a meteorologist from the UK and others helped us figure out two variables to select to symbolize and track in this project.

There is a test tube for everyone and each day, each of us places a bead in their test tube to represent their feelings for the day. Participants choose one of ten coloured beads according to their own mood and desire. The test tubes will be fastened to the piece after the journey is complete and following the journey our team will make a chromatic poster representing the multi-coloured beads (with a data visualisation tool we sort and sample with vertical bars the coloured beads that each of the participants put in their test tube over the 20-day journey).

Each person brought with them something small to represent their journey through life and representing themselves or their work. Onto the linen material next to the map of Antarctica is a grid of 90 10×10 cm small squares. In each of the squares each person adds their own contribution, and in the evening we take our spots around the map on the floor to make our contribution. The squares include a hand drawing of an iceberg, an embroidered penguin, handwritten inscriptions, beaded objects, tools participants use in their scientific work including a ruler, a compass and a tree ring liner. It’s a great social occasion as well as a piece of art.

The piece will be a legacy of this inaugural Homeward Bound trip. It will also be added to by future trip participants.


Working on ArtSci – 17 dec


Working on ArtSci -20 dec


Brought to you by the fabulous Project 2 – back row RaeAnne, Robyn, Amanda, Aimee. Front row Niina, Christina, Carol, Sam, Deb