After having made numerous scientific discoveries, the Belgian expedition boat in Antarctica approached Deception Island and got trapped in ice for close to thirteen months. During that enforced overwintering, the lack of light from the polar night was the source of diseases, depressions and even cases of dementia among the crew members.
Deception Island is a multidisciplinary artwork – between film, performance, social work and installation – which explores the invisible face of a belgian exploration’s myth and develop the narrative of a paradoxical no-travel. That episode, erased from offical history, is silently re-enacted by actors on the New Belgica industrial site, which is the construction project of a replica of the original Belgica (now grounded on the bottom of the sea). It is constructed by prisoners from Antwerp prison, in collaboration with a social workshop. This boat skeleton may be seen as a metaphor of historical reconstruction, always in progress, fragmented, and incomplete.
Deception Island, a former site of whale oil exploitation, is the first Antarctic island that is already an abandoned industrial wasteland. This project probes insularity and isolation at different levels, the exclusive use of travelling throughout the movie physically immerses the visitor in a floating and hypnotic universe, where physical disorientation would echo to a loss of existential orientation, in a mysterious post-industrial world, with no benchmarks.