Contested Circumpolar: Domestic Territories at Venice Biennale

image of Contested Circumpolar

Claimed by the eight Arctic nations—Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States—while also being the borderless home of numerous Indigenous peoples, the Arctic is a complex, contested space in the twenty-first century. Territorial claims, resource extraction, climate change, and ongoing colonialism reflect the range of ways in which inhabitation has been imposed and negotiated in the last hundred years. Simultaneously, distinct stories of daily life of inhabitants who call the Arctic home further reflect a richly heterogeneous, cultural landscape at the forefront of accelerated transformations. 

Contested Circumpolar: Domestic Territories represents complex narratives of inhabitation from each of the eight Arctic nations to reveal entangled connections between domestic space to the territorial space. The installation situates domestic life within the broader sociocultural, economic, and geopolitical forces unique to the Arctic. Conceived as “domestic core samples,” each model captures the array of objects, tools, and machines that enable domestic-territorial linkages that represent collective matters of concern to be addressed in the urbanizing Arctic.

Production credits:

Lateral Office + Arctic Design Group: Lola Sheppard (UW), Mason White (UofT), Kearon Roy Taylor (UofT), Zihao Wei (UW), Vincent Chuang (UW), Julia Nakanishi (UW), Matthew Jull (UVA), Leena Cho (UVA), Benjamin DiNapoli (GSD)


University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Waterloo, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, University of Virginia School of Architecture, Jefferson Trust, Anchorage Museum.