In the beginning of my ethnographic fieldwork, I conceived my primary documentary task as capturing the social life of the camp. I focused on the division of labor, male and female distribution of roles, competitive/cooperative relations between and within the different science consortia, etc. However, it seemed to me that one of the most decisive lines of social demarcation in camp was that between Gastgeber und Gäste, as one scientist phrased it; that is between what was conceived as a Danish ice core camp hosting outlandish guests.
With 36 individuals working, eating, living and sleeping together 24/7, sharing a single sauna and two showers, the camp was at times a social pressure cooker. That prompted the question of what role - if any - the "social" took on in the production of scientific knowledge. Significantly, the images in this cluster depict the social and material life of science as a continuum of the architecture of the camp. This implies that "camp" means an association of humans and non-humans, making representations of nature.
I did not come to see the NEEM camp as a micro-scale society; rather I conceived it rather un-like "society". At NEEM, the scientists were away from their offices and administrative duties, away from social hierarchies in academic settings and away from their family ties and obligations. They were in a sense at large on the ice, kite-skiing, playing table tennis, ice volley or country music, enjoying the sauna, as well as doing science and celebrating each other. The photographs in this cluster partly represent my attempt to capture this.
Read more about the photo series A Cold Northern Light here.