Christian Houge

Norwegian, b. 1972

Winternight, 2001
Digital C-print
39 ½ x 118 in. (100.6 x 299.7 cm)

In Christian Houge’s panoramic photographs from his series Arctic Technology, nature and culture dramatically collide. In Winternight, the viewer confronts an uncanny portrait of a radio telescope isolated and timelessly bathed in an ethereal blue atmosphere. This science-fiction-like photograph would have thrilled the author Jules Verne (French, 1828–1905), whose futuristic vision merged with polar sublimity in such books as The Adventures of Captain Hatteras (1866) included on this site.

During the course of eight years and ten trips, Houge documented the human presence on the island of Spitsbergen. Now part of the Svalbard archipelago owned by Norway, it has attracted artists, naturalists, and explorers since the early nineteenth century. Most recently, the island has become a mecca for scientists who study astronomy and atmospheric chemistry related to climate change.