This is how people at McMurdo Station in Antarctica
keep from going crazy celebrate their craziness during the holidays. Above: a dude in a reindeer costume pauses for a moment of reflection. With a bunch of colored balls. At the South Pole. Photos, blog post. (Thanks, T.bias, via Wayne's list)
Related BB posts:
• Santarchy in Antarctica (2003)
• Will the real Antarctic Anti-santa please stand up? (2003)
• More Santarchy in Antarctica (2003)
• Astronaut in Antarctica to conduct fun experiments (2006)
• More archive posts about Antarctica
Jonathan Moore points us to a description of the "blue balls," which are actually an art project called Stellar Axis. Wow, Art in Antarctica! snip from the description:
Stellar axis is a giant art piece depicting the 99 brightest stars in the southern hemisphere. blue fiberglass spheres of various yet relative sizes represent the stars - with sirius being the largest. they are arranged as they are in the sky, in forms of constellations as they are when the solstice occurs. only we don't see the night sky here, therefore we don't get stars, but either way, it is beautiful, the contrast of cobalt and ice shelf. locally, the spheres had become known as 'blueballs.' ("hey sandwich, you really have to go out there and check out the blueballs... they're amazing!") the installation is about a 45 minute ride from mcmurdo, out on the ross ice shelf, near pegasus runway.
Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City says,
Related: Artist McKendree Key's earth art with balls at Lake Camplain. Her website here. Her work at Caren Golden Fine Art here. It would be a stretch to say there is a preexisting tradition of ball art similar to what the Santa's came to on their own, though certainly there are other examples of earth artists who use that shape in their work ( Andy Goldsworthy being the best example) but you can certainly see that artists also have an affinity for the form and are making things like the Santa's are doing.
Joseph Miller says,
McMurdo Station is not actually at the South Pole but on Ross Island, which is some distance from the pole and at a more reasonable altitude. Also it's Summer, so the place isn't as crazy-inducing as you might think. At least, that's what I gather from my brother, who's been there a couple of times (and is on his way there now). As for the picture, some people just have more Christmas spirit than others. And more blue balls.
Here's a more "blue collar" look at how people unwind / maintain sanity at McMurdo. The Science outposts down there are, in fact, more construction site than laboratory. Link to BigDeadPlace [ Ed. note: Yeah, we've blogged these guys before! Link 1, Link 2 ]
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