“In the summer of 2010 I had the chance to visit Antarctica under the invitation of the Argentine Antarctic Division. It was nothing short of breath taking as I am sure anyone would suspect.
Upon departing from Buenos Aires, the Hercules transport, under direction of the Argentine Military made a routine stop at the airbase outside Rio Gallegos. What was meant to be a few hours layover turned into several days, as winds there exceeded expectations and before long it was clear the transport could not take off. Adverse weather conditions along the Antarctic Peninsula also didn’t help the departure. Whilst the scientists bunkered down in their quarters, I headed outside with my recorder. The wind in Patagonia is, well breathtaking. Literally, there were moments where it was strong breezy it seemed difficult to catch breath. Across three days I recorded abandoned buildings, lone trees bent over in fields of tundra-like grasses, quivering road signs, wailing fences and other objects brought into relief with the wind. It wasn’t comfortable, but the sounds, I hope, speak for themselves.
The Antarctic recordings were made during two blizzards at Marambio and Esperanza bases. During the blizzard in Marambio, the temperature dropped to -40degrees centigrade (with windchill) which made recording particularly challenging. The wind battered the bases structures and telecommunications equipment, making a range of unusual tonal phase drones, which you can hear in these recordings. The blizzard at Esperanza was mild by comparison, but still string enough to coat penguins in layer of snow as they huddled together during the worst of the wind storm.
Listening back to these recordings I am struck by the sheer physicality of the wind. It’s rare that you feel physically reduced by the motion of air, but in both Patagonia and Antarctica that is just how I felt. A small speck of organic dust in a howling storm.” - Lawrence English, Viento