Arctica is a triptych by Alastair Cook, commissioned by poet Stevie Ronnie.
Arctica is a series of interlinked artworks, borne from writer and artist Stevie Ronnie’s 2013 journey to the High Arctic through the Arctic Circle international residency programme. As part of Arctica, Alastair Cook was commissioned by Stevie to make a triptych of short Filmpoems with sound by Italian composer Luca Nasciuti. The films also feature Arctic footage shot by US-based artist Michael Eckblad alongside found footage from Alastair’s collection.
’What I Should Have Said’ is the first Filmpoem of the Arctica triptych. It takes us into the air as we settle in to listen – then brings us back to ground in the Arctic. This is a love poem to the family that Stevie left behind, originally composed shortly before he set off on his Arctic journey. ‘What I Should Have Said’ appears in Stevie’s collection of poetry Manifestations (Red Squirrel Press).
Time and the Two Year Old’s Hands is the is the second Filmpoem of the Arctica triptych. It reaches the midway point of the triptych and turns back on itself, the hourglass turning over, injecting an urgency into this plaintive call for the survival of our children. The poem ‘Time and the Two Year Old’s Hands’ was composed as a creative response to the IPCC report on Climate Change that was commissioned by Tipping Point, the Free Word Centre and Spread the Word for the publication ‘ Weatherfronts: Climate Change and the Stories We Tell’.
From Arctica is the is the third Filmpoem of the Arctica triptych. It brings us back from the Arctic to Northumberland and was originally composed in response to the tragic and unexpected death of a child in Stevie’s local community. This difficult and moving ending to the tryptich is about the about the acceptance of the unspeakable, the unthinkable and those things that are around us that we choose not to see. ‘From Arctica’ is an extract from a yet to be published poetic narrative that explores climate change, light, dark and our relationship with death against the backdrop of the Arctic landscape.
This work was made possible through the financial support of Arts Council England, Durham Book Festival and New Writing North with additional support from The Arctic Circle, Free Word Centre, the Arvon Foundation, NewBridge Books and the Centre for Fine Print Research at UWE