Sophie Calle, North Pole, 2009, Light box, sandblasted porcelain plaque, video, screen, color photograph, frame
Yesterday I buried my mother's jewels on Northern Glacier. I was Lucky. A few meters further south and I would have landed on Starvation Glacier.
She had a dream. Go to the North Pole. It was a part of our life: One day she would go. She died two years ago having preserved her dream. I guess that's why she never went.
I never had this dream. It was hers. But I was invited to go to the North Pole. And may be I went a little for her. To take her there.
In my suitcase : a photo, a necklace, a ring.
I chose a portrait of her in the snow. Winter holidays.
Her white and red Chanel necklace. I grew up with those pearls around her neck.
And her diamond ring. During the war my grandfather, running away from the Germans to hide in the mountains of Grenoble, afraid a building he owned would be seized, exchanged it for a diamond ring. Not a good deal. My grandmother did not talk to him for a year.
So I waited to reach the most northern place of this trip, where I could go ashore with my mother.
Laurie, my roomate on the boat, suggested that, if the weather did not allow us to do so, I still could flush the ring down the toilet. Actually, it is a thought my mother would have loved. During a few minutes I imagine her laughing to tears to this idea. But the weather was good.
I chose a beautiful stone in the center of the beach
I buried the portrait, the necklace, the diamond. Cried a little. Took a photo. Martha sang a verse of Marylin Monroe - my mother's other passion along with the North Pole - diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Now, my mother has gone to the North Pole.
I wonder if her glacier will advance or retreat, if the climate changes will carry her to the sea to be taken north by the West Greenland current, or retreat up the valley towards the ice cap, or if she will stay on the beach as a marker in time where the glacier was in the holocene period.
And maybe in thousands of years, specialists in glaciology will find her ring and discuss endlessly this flash of diamond in Inuit culture.
Or if a treasure hunter or beachcomber will discover it and exchange it for a house in the mountains of Grenoble.
By Sophie Calle