API Systems Schematic 2011 (click for full size)

API is developing a 'system of systems' for mobile deployment within the circumpolar region. All the plans are influenced by traditional designs in use within the arctic today or have been built based around conversations and consultation with community members within Igloolik, Iqaluit, and Mittimatilik. The systems will be used and managed by the community for artistic, ecological, sustainable work and habitation on the land, away from villages and hamlets.

If you have suggestions, comments or are interested in using some of these systems within your hamlet or village anywhere within the circumpolar region, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

To the right you can find a menu with detailed information regarding each system designed by API.



ᑲᓪᓕᑕᖅ KALLITAQ @ HMKV 'Arctic Perspective' Exhibition, 2010 

ᑲᓪᓕᑕᖅ KALLITAQ model By Nejc Trošt (C-ASTRAL Aerospace / RESET), 2010

Mobile,Modular habItatIon unit, ongoIng design and production

The Kallitaq is a modular habitation unit designed for mobility and nomadic life on the land for extended periods of time, while being able to be connected back to the community (and the world) through communications technologies and having access to power generation and technological systems from sensors to water production, amongst others. For example, the multi-function unit will be used for: media authoring and streaming, scientific research, hunting, and environmental monitoring and assessment, which could happen simultaneously. the plans for the kallitaq, which is essentially a modern, modular version of a traditional qamutik and iglutaq designs, will be published as open source documents, allowing for the rapid reproduction, and adaptation of the unit by communities as they see fit.

The unit will be able to be changed and adapted for local use and conditions, from the use of sealskins for the covering to the use of caribou or polar bear skin interiors for extreme winter conditions or geographical locations with specific materials available. the units produced by API will use advanced, lighter materials, due to the construction in the south. however, the design is meant to be completely adaptable to different materials, and uses.

The unit will be powered by an onboard Isagutaq system, and will support a full suite of tatsipaa sensors, HF, UHF and VHF rx/tx, and L-band data rx/tx systems. a snow and ice melter will also be a design option on future systems as well as a ultra-lightweight design for dog team travel.

Developed in conjunction with Nunavut community members, API architectural submissions, C-ASTRAL Inc., Paleta d.o.o.
Concept: Matthew Biederman, Marko Peljhan, Nejc Trošt
Design and Architecture: Nejc Trošt
Model Manufacturing Team: Samo Stopar, Andrej Bizjak, Aljosa Lozej, Miha Bratina





ISAGUTAQ in use at Siurajuuk Penninsula powering a live video stream to London UK.

ᐃᓴᒍᑕᖅ (ISAGUTAQ) = Ray of Light
Mobile Power System, 2010

API’s Mobile Power system (MPS) is specifically designed to be a highly portable, quickly deployable renewable power generation plant and is a result of fieldwork requirements that emerged during the I-TASC and MAKROLAB projects. the MPS is capable of 2KW generation, supporting 2 solar plants, and 2 wind turbines in total. Field-tested on Siuraarjuk Peninsula, NU (Location: 69.850607 N, -81.278800 W) in May 2010, it supplied ample power to light the cabin, power a laptop and satellite internet connection, which in turn allowed for a live video exchange between Suiraarjuk, NU and London, UK.

Concept: Matthew Biederman, Marko Peljhan, Nejc Trošt
A design and industrial collaboration between API, PROJEKT ATOL and C-ASTRAL ltd. (Samo Stopar, Andrej Bizjak, Primoz Lemut)
The plans of the Isagutaq will be published in the technology cahier under an open source license.
Thanks to Guillaume Saladin for extensive testing.



CDPDU - Common Data and Display Unit

CDPDU @ HMKV Arctic Perspective Exhibition (2010)

CommonData Display and Processing Architecture (CDPDU)
2008-present (ongoing)

The Common Data Processing and Display Unit (CDPDU) is a data display and processing architecture built to open hardware and software standards. The CDPDU serves as one of the public faces of the arctic Perspective Initiative project throughout its duration. the first prototypes of the data collection units were installed in Montreal, quebec, santa barbara, california, ljubljana, slovenia and Igloolik, nunavut. these collection units are all sending their data in real-time to the CDPDU in order to be processed and displayed for the public. In its next phase, multiple CDPDUs will function as a networked computational cluster for the aggregation, processing and display the data and content produced within the API framework. The network of the collection units and the CDPDUs will serve as an interface to the public in addition to disseminating the data to be further studied by scientists, used by artists, or aggregated into larger research clusters. the hardware and software architectures of the CDPDU are open source.

The datasets displayed on the CDPDU are acquired, processed and displayed from the following sources:

Monitoring sensors and displays list:

  10. API HTU Montreal, santa barbara environmental sensors and images
  11. UCSB STEM ESS environmental sensors and image processing
  12. BLACKCLOUD sensor systems
  13. RADARSAT and ENVISAT ASAR synthetic aperture radar (SAR)

The seastar spacecraft, developed by orbital sciences corporation, carries the SEAWIFS instrument and was launched to low earth orbit on board an extended Pegasus launch vehicle on august 1, 1997. The Moderate resolution Imaging spectroradiometer MODIS instrument is operating on both the terra and aqua spacecraft. It has a viewing swath width of 2,330 km and views the entire surface of the earth every one to two days. Its detectors measure 36 spectral bands between 0.405 and 14.385 μm, and it acquires data at three spatial resolutions – 250m, 500m, and 1,000m. the first MODIS instrument was launched on board the terra satellite on 18 december 1999, and the second was launched on board the aqua satellite on 4 May 2002.

The MODIS instruments provide calibrated, geolocated radiance data from individual bands, and a series of geophysical products from land, ocean, and atmosphere disciplines that can be used for studies of processes and trends on local to global scales. this data helps scientists understand the earth as a system, facilitating their ability to predict global climate changes and to differentiate between the impact of human activities and natural activities on the environment. the satellite data displayed in this first phase is processed by the NASA/goddard oceancolor group at the goddard space center. Flight center distributed active data center and can be used for research and educational purposes only and are part of research into satellite data display that is being conducted at the university of california santa barbara Media arts and technology Program under the direction of Prof. Marko Peljhan.

The API HTU systems was designed and developed by the Matthew Biederman and Marko Peljhan for the purposes of the API funded development for polar art/science research.

The UCSB STEM ESS is designed and developed by the students of UCSB MAT under the direction of Prof. Marko Peljhan.
BLACKCLOUD was designed and developed by the BLACKCLOUD team, headed by Greg Niemeyer at UCB.

CDPDU Project Team:
Concept: Marko Peljhan
Central Software Framework: Wesley Smith
Software and Hardware frameworks: Matthew Biederman, UCSB MATP (Amichi Amar, Wesley Smith, Pablo Colapinto, Anil Camci, Andres Burbano), SEADAS, NASA/goddard ocean color group, Marko Peljhan
Enclosure Engineering: Nejc Trošt, Samo Stopar, Andrej Bizjak
Renders: Nejc Trošt
Workshop: C-ASTRAL ltd., Slovenia

Supported By:
University of California Santa Barbara, Media arts and Technology Program
BLACKCLOUD was funded by the digital Media learning grant from the Macarthur Foundation, as well as swissnex, Pro helvetia and the Mellon Foundation.
team rhea cortado (costume designer), aida eltorie (arts Manager), andy garcia (teacher, Manual arts high school), laura greig (artist/web designer), Farley gwazda (artist), nik hanselmann (Programmer/artist), eric kaltman (Programmer), geoff koops (artist), reza naima (hardware engineer), greg niemeyer (Principal Investigator) and daye rogers (Video documentary).

thanks to: UCSB MATP, george legrady, C-ASTRAL ltd., slovenia

With the support of the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia, city of Ljubljana Cultural Department


DSC_1072 DSC_1089 DSC_5472
ᐱᕈᖅᓯᕕᒃ @ Coded Utopia, 2011 (details)

Hydroponic garden system + LED lighting system
2010-present (ongoing)

Nearly all fresh vegetables and fruits available in Nunavut are shipped thousands of kilometers. Only the hardiest and most bio-engineered arrive there, and are available only at a great expense. Dehydrated foods, prepared foods and Soda are generally cheaper than items that are healthy, fresh and have a higher nutritional value. the ᐱᕈᖅᓯᕕᒃ (PIRUQSIVIK) is a hydroponic garden under development for use in Nunavut as a community garden in Igloolik.

After the exhibition the system will be custom fit into a container, and shipped to Nunavut in order to become a community garden, providing free vegetables for the community. the hydroponic garden uses no soil, instead feeding the plants by a nutrient infused water. light emitting diodes custom tuned for the light spectrum that is best for growth (hence the pink light) uses an extremely low amount of electricity. In the north, the entire system will be powered by renewable resources, and will produce fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs year round.

Concept and Design: Matthew Biederman / Marko Peljhan
Developed in conjunction with: Marko Marovt, growNRW (DE) with the help of Marko Gabrijelčič and Uroš Veber
The plans of the HYDRO-1-GARDEN will be published in the technology cahier under an open source license.

ᓯᓄᓂ SINUNI - Mesh Network

ᓯᓄᓂ (SiNuNi) 

IMG_1863_tatsipaa_far_IgloolikJan2011     SINUNI_3SMALL3     SINUNISuomi 001


ᓯᓚᒥᓗ ᓄᓇᒧᓗ ᓂᑉᓕᐅᕈᑎ / ᓯᓄᓂ (Silamilu Nunamulu Nipiliuruti / SiNuNi)
Weather and Land Recording Device

Adaptable Community Environmental / Wildlife Assessment Mesh Network
2009 – Present (ongoing)

The sensor network is a mesh network design for environmental monitoring. The network can consist of a large number of nodes or as few as one unit on its own. As of 2011, there are two developed versions of the nodes, a unit that is meant to be stationary, running autonomously on solar and/or wind power, and a mobile version. Each node is powered by a rechargeable battery, providing ample usage time between charges in moderate temperatures. The unit’s basic capabilities are listed in the table below, and additional sensor input is available through simple customization.

The software and hardware are all open source and are highly customizable to suit the needs of the community, individual hunter, or researcher. Currently the data is recorded as a string of comma separated values, to be easily imported into a variety of analysis software. The data can also be accessed in real time, allowing for additional real-time situational awareness.

An example of its usage might be that a hunter would ‘check-out’ a node, and head out on the land to hunt. Along the way a set of environmental measurements would be logged automatically and stored according to their location. The hunter could also use the buttons to record locations that they wish. Upon returning, the node would automatically upload its data to a central server. The data would then slowly aggregate, building a database of land use and measurements of microclimates along the way. Under this paradigm of ‘citizen-sensing’ the community owns its own science and allows for healthy, sustainable monitoring of their local environment, rather than relying on southern researchers. Another possible program for its use could be the comparison of weather data and traditional knowledge by an elder, learning to read the sensors while using their own knowledge of the land and wind to make their predictions more accurate.

The Tatsipaaq extends the connection to the land through technology for the entire community. The nodes can also be distributed on the land in fixed locations and can operate continuously, sending environmental data back to the community in real time as well as serving as repeater stations extending the reach of the network. A database of environmental data would be built by the community, for the community rather than needing to rely on ‘southern’ research.

Global Posiotioning System (NMEA) X X
Lumens X !
Temperature X X
Barometric Pressure X X
Relative Humidity X X
X/Y/Z Relative Movement X X
Wind Speed   X
Wind Direction   X
Dew Point X X
Georeferenced user input X !
Daylight readable display X  
Data Logging (SD/microSD) X X
900MHz wireless mesh network + TCP/IP X X
Addt'l senors such as chemical pollutant, water quality etc. X


SiNuNi technical details (via Metakinetik)

Concept: Matthew Biederman, Marko Peljhan
Developed in conjunction with: sensestage/labxmodal (Montreal), API, and Metakinetik, UCSB Systemics Lab, UCIRA
The plans of the SiNuNi will be published in the technology cahier under an open source license.

Iglutaq Prototype


David and Taylor at work constructing a hard shell iglutaq prototype in Pond Inlet.

API, with the help of Richard Carbonnier and several students from Pond Inlet High School, have constructed an iglutaq prototype.  The design is a collaborative effort between API, Richard Carbonnier, and Nejc Trost.  In May (2010), the hardshell was tested on the land with community members to further refine the design and work towards the future implementation of the unit and it's systems.

The drawings below were completed by Nejc Trost (of C-ASTRAL Aerospace Ltd.) through a collaboration with Richard Carbonnier (Architect) and API 


Architecture Competion Announcement


Three architects – Richard Carbonnier (Canada), Giuseppe Mecca (Italy), and Catherine Rannou (France) – have been selected as joint winners of the Arctic Perspective Initiative open architecture competition. The challenge of this international competition, announced in early 2009, was to design a mobile media-based work and habitation unit, capable of functioning in extreme cold as well as in temperate climates, and incorporating the use of renewable energy, water and waste recycling sytems.

From geopolitics to climate change, the global community is increasingly focused on the circumpolar regions.  This was evident in that API received a staggering 103 architectural and engineering submissions from 30 different countries and territories, proving that the earth’s polar regions and communities lie at the heart of a critical global junction.  With progressively more access to these regions - and consequently more interest by domestic and foreign governments and corporations in their natural and economic resources - API is committed to the empowerment and sustainable development of Northern communities through the collaboration and combination of science, arts, engineering and culture.  Out of the 103 submissions, the jury is proud to award three prizes each worth 1.500 € to:
Richard Carbonnier, Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet - Nunavut, Canada)
Giuseppe Mecca, Florence (Italy), and 
Catherine Rannou, Plouezoc‘h (France)
For Complete Details on the winning projects and the Jury process, please see here.
In early 2009, API announced an international architecture competition for the design of a mobile, media-centric habitation unit for use by local populations in the circumpolar regions.  To serve as many communities as possible throughout the north, it will be capable of functioning in extreme as well as temperate climates with a possible potential for buoyancy. Using the latest advances in renewable energy systems, all required power will come from green sources in direct contrast to the diesel powered generators common throughout the Canadian north. The working unit will facilitate a diverse range of technological research opportunities such as remote sensing, environmental data collection / aggregation / sharing, video editing and streaming, and communications systems.  While providing an opportunity for research, the unit also enables a new technologically enhanced seasonal mobility whereby local community members can live on the land while simultaneously collecting scientific data and easily sharing stories and anecdotes through advanced communication technologies.
Intrinsic to the project is an ongoing adaptation of the design by incorporating open standards, modularity, and by utilizing mass-industrial as well as amateur production and manufacturing. The unit will serve as a model for mobile research in the north by incorporating proven local expertise, sustainable resources, and high tech solutions, while promoting open source data sharing strategies and management. Our design process and outlined use of the unit as well as our collaborative working model, promotes sustainable, healthy community development. This allows for traditional knowledge and practices to be combined with new technologies.
The competition was the first phase of the design process.  The next phase will involve working with the winning submissions through a collaborative design effort with local community members from Nunavut, Canada. Only after a thorough second design phase will API begin construction of a prototype unit. Upon its completion, the prototype will be based in Igloolik, Nunavut where it will be field tested by local media workers, hunters, youth and elders, in order to be updated and improved. The third phase of the project will involve the dissemination of the design and further prototypes around the circumpolar region, focusing first on the rest of Inuit Nunangat, Greenland, Yakutia and Alaska. 
Three prize-winning proposals
While the jury found that there was no single submission which covered all the points within the call for proposals (, it did find three proposals from diverse perspectives to build upon and decided to award three equal prizes, but no first prize. The design proposals selected by the jury all reflected upon traditional circumpolar designs, yet each represented a wide variety of approaches to their final design. They are also characterized by the fact that the proposed structure is rapidly deployable and highly mobile, while based on a concept of sustainability and designed to leave zero (or a very low) environmental footprint.
The three award-winning designs as well as additional entries from the competition will be included in the first of four API publications (API CAHIERS), which is to be devoted to architecture.  API Cahier #1: Architecture, edited by Andreas Müller, will be published in Winter 2009 .  The winning selections and other projects that the jury selected, will also be included in the exhibition ARCTIC PERSPECTIVE – THIRD CULTURE which will take place from June - October 2010 in the framework of European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 as well as the international media-art conference ISEA2010 RUHR.
The jury meeting was held during four days from September 15 to September 18 and was composed of:
Inke Arns (Artistic Director: HMKV, Dortmund)
Johan Berte (Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Station Project Manager: International Polar Foundation, Brussels)
Matthew Biederman (Artist, Director: C-TASC, Montréal)
Michael Bravo (Head of History and Public Policy Research Group: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Francesca Ferguson (Independent Architecture Curator, Basel)
Andreas Müller (An Architektur, Berlin)
Marko Peljhan (Director: Projekt Atol, Co-Director: UC Institute for Research in the Arts, Ljubljana / Santa Barbara)
Nicola Triscott (Director: The Arts Catalyst, London)


CFP - Juried Open Design Competition (CLOSED)


DEADLINE 23:59:59 UTC, JULY 1, 2009


23:59:59 UTC, AUGUST 1ST, 2009

First Prize: 5000 EUR
Second Prize: 2500 EUR
Third Prize: 1500 EUR

The ARCTIC PERSPECTIVE INITIATIVE MOBILE MEDIA-CENTRIC HABITATION AND WORK UNIT open architecture design competition is open to the submission of proposals for the design of a mobile media-centric facility, life support habitation and work module with a renewable energy supply, waste recycling, and communications systems. We invite proposals from architects, designers, engineers, artists, students, and engineering teams.

The design should be an open source mobile architecture / system / machine capable of functioning in extreme as well as temperate climates and containing mass/industrial and amateur production/manufacturing potential. The unit is to serve as a model for mobile research in extreme cold environments, incorporating high tech solutions while utilizing sustainable resources.

Submitted entries are intended for the competition only. The selection of prizewinners does not guarantee the  intent of API to award a commission for the actual building of the project. However, API does reserve the right to consult and negotiate on the continuation of the development with selected entrants pending the confirmation of the development budgets in 2009 and 2010. If realization is to continue, the first prototype will be tested in the field in the March/April/May 2010 time frame.

All winners and honorable mentions will be published in the API Cahier #2 “Architecture”, to be edited in the Fall/Winter 2009. All winners and honorable mentions will be included in exhibitions and presentations in the framework of European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 as well as the international media-art conference ISEA 2010 RUHR, with additional exhibitions and presentations to be confirmed.

All submissions selected for exhibition and publishing will be notified in advance.

The ARCTIC PERSPECTIVE – THIRD CULTURE project is supported by the European Commission Culture 2007-2013 grant and by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia, the City of Dortmund.  Other funding is pending.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the authors and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



The Arctic is simultaneously a zone of crucial contemporary geopolitical controversy and a space with an opportunity for transnational, circumpolar, and intercultural cooperation and collaboration. In light of the effects of climate change, the indiscriminate economic exploitation of untapped reservoirs of energy and natural resources in the Polar Regions is increasingly feasible and inevitable. Unfortunately, because of vested geopolitical and economic interests, all of this is happening without taking into account that there are determined native cultures inhabiting the whole of the circumpolar territories. The Arctic Perspective Initiative (API), a transnational art, science, and culture work group, intends to direct attention to the global cultural and ecological significance of the Polar Regions. API aims to do this through the empowerment of the local citizens of the North via new communications, sensing, aggregation, transmission and information sharing through participatory and open technology methodologies.

API and the local stakeholders will create the framework conditions for collaborative projects between aboriginal cultures, artists, hunters, scientists, tactical media workers, and engineers in the Arctic within three broad topical fields: migration, climate, and telecommunications. In order to address these issues, API’s current activities include the development, installation, and deployment of mobile, sustainable, zero-impact modular research units, open-source Information and Communications Technology (ICT) literacy workshops, and presentation activities within the circumpolar regions. API’s mandate is to understand and address systems of migration, climate, and telecommunications; each sharing complex mathematics, a dynamic matrix, and global reach through scientific and poetic terms.

API is establishing an open, international call for the design of the first of the research systems. These systems are envisioned as mobile media-centric facilities and life support modules that will allow tactical media workers, local stakeholders, scientists, hunters, and community members to create, live and work collaboratively on the land, physically separated from the settlements yet connected through new communication technologies and sensor networks. This unit will serve as a model for sustainable, low-impact, yet high tech saturated creation and research in polar conditions.

In addition to the physical and technological systems, a key component of the project is the development of an open structure for the dissemination of content, research, and design results and a set of open data policy and participation guidelines. These guidelines can be extended for use by a variety of organizations and individuals within native, scientific, cultural, and academic projects and activities. Thus, with the establishment of an open communications infrastructure, the mobile, on-land media-centric units will serve as a model for an empowered mediated mobility for the Northern citizens, which is one of the primary long-term aims of the API.

Rather than giving a voice to popular science, the present project intends to strengthen the territory of artistic research which, in the context of this project, includes indigenous cultures and traditional knowledge. Both cultures, that of art as we describe it and that of science, value human curiosity, creativity, and the desire to understand and represent the unknown. The initiators of this project believe that precisely differing epistemologies and forms of knowledge production can be used effectively in the proposed collaborative matrix—primarily by also taking into account the geopolitical setting and the sociopolitical conditions that are to be encountered in the Polar Regions of the world and beyond.



 All submitted entries should clearly demonstrate the ideas, themes, and designs for each of the following criteria in response to the programs below:





  • the dry weight shall be 1200-1500 kg maximum mass
  • 500km minimum radius of operation
  • 5kW min power generation
  • life support for 3 people for up to 15 days
  • towable/drivable/boatable/amphibious
  • Operation between 10 °C and -40 °C
  • galley
  • toilet/shower
  • first aid facility
  • communications facilities
  • workspaces/rest spaces
  • Stable operation with winds up to 85km / hr


  • rest bunks
  • buoyancy
  • natural light source use
  • provision for modularity of systems on site
  • snow smelter
  • sauna
  • grey and black water recycling
  • ability to support 19-inch frame technologies


Radius of Operations Map

500 km Radius of Operations map for deployment of prototypes:

Submission Details


  • Entry forms must be submitted to the following email: final2009[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org
  • Project files and additional materials should be sent to the above email through a web submission service such as, or an equivalent. If you have an issue using these services or the max. file size, please contact final2009[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org to resolve.
  • Please consult the website for further instructions 1 month before the deadline on June 1, 2009 for FTP information.
  • All entries must be submitted no later than July 1st, 2009, 23:59 UTC August 1st, 2009, 23:59:59 UTC Please check your time/zone vs. UTC difference!
  • All entries must include an entry form with a scanned signature.  No late submissions will be accepted.  
  • API is not responsible for delays, late or lost entries.

All submitted entries must include the following: 

  • 1.0 A digital file of a single presentation poster formatted for printing at 130cm x 50cm landscape format. The poster should be a minimum of 150 dpi and a maximum of 600 dpi in TIFF CMYK format. The poster should include the following information:
1.1 3-D renderings or sketches of structure, exterior and interior 
1.2 Systems descriptions and plans
1.3 Text descriptions of pertinent concepts 
1.4 Any additional drawings, or images to communicate the concept/design  
  • 2.0 Completed Entry Form  
  • 3.0 Additional submission materials are invited but not required:
    • 3.1 CAD files
    • 3.2 Models
    • 3.3 Photographs
    • 3.4 Videos
    • 3.5 Software
    • 3.6 Equipment tear sheets / specifications
    • 3.7 CFD Files

As stated in the above section, to maintain entrant anonymity no presentation material should include the name of the entrant or information that may lead to the identification of the entrant. 

The submitted entry should also not include any information regarding the professional or academic experience of the entrant.  Submitted entries will be judged on design ideas only and any other information will be deleted before submissions are presented to the jury. 

Further Competition Information

To maintain an environment of fairness, selected questions and answers will be made available to all registered entrants.  

The API will answer questions from entrants prior to the entry submission deadline.  All questions must be submitted via email to design2009[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org


The API Team plans to exhibit and publish the winning entries and honorable mention submissions following the jury's selection. All entrants will be notified of the exhibition and publishing details.  
Each entrant must be the sole owner of 100% of all rights and interests in the submitted entry at the time of submission. Upon submission, the entrant enters the submitted entry into Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Please see: for information. Please check for more in depth information. 

In accordance with the Creative Commons license Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, API shall be granted (and thereby assumes) unrestricted license to exercise all rights to the submitted entry without limitation or recourse for purposes including but not limited to, reproduction, distribution of copies of submitted entries, as well as the right to authorize use of said submitted entries or any part thereof by others as deemed appropriate by API in order to promote the Arctic Perspective Initiative.

DISCLAIMER: Upon submission, all entrants agree to waive any and all claims against API as a result of the Open Architecture  Exhibition and publication.  


Jurors will not be informed of any entrant’s identity. Final submitted material should include no name or other information that could lead to identification of the entrant. Competition coordinators will review the applications and assign a random code to each entrant, which the jurors will use to identify the submitted entry.

The ARCTIC PERSPECTIVE – THIRD CULTURE project is supported by the European Commission Culture 2007-2013 grant and by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia. Other funding is pending.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the authors and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Additional Arctic Resources


Please seee the LINKS section of the website for additional resources.


Below, in the interest of fairness is a compilation of questions and we've recieved regarding the CFP.  If your question is not answered below, please do not hesitate to send us a personal message at : design2009[at]arcticperpsective[dot]org.


1000-1500 kg planned include also food storage, technical equipement, laguage, means of transportation, fuel etcr (pls confirme or every item)?

Are the vehicles/engine required to transport the unit included in the mass limit of 1500 kg?

The 1500Kg maximum is a 'dry' weight.  This is a consideration before any of the systems such as hydroponics, computers, fuel, water and personnel are aboard.

When you say it must operate within a range of at least 500km radius, what exactly does this mean? The system must be able to support itself and three people for that distance? Or is it pointing to the fact that to travel anywhere in that range, multiple terrains must be crossed?

The 500km radius is a rough guideline.  We intend for the unit to be operation within that range of travel.  The unit could be towed, or self-powered and traverse a multitude of terrains.  However the systems on board must work within that radius.  Of course it doesn't have to travel 500km in one day, but it might over a season....or we envision a possible scenario for it sitting still for a season and only moving after a particular study / project is complete.  Flexibility is key...

Please explain a 19 inch frame technology and where could I find the exact parameters?

A 19-inch rack is a standardized (EIA 310-D, IEC 60297 and DIN 41494 SC48D) frame or enclosure for mounting multiple electronic modules. Each module has a front panel that is 19 inches (480 mm) wide, including edges or ears that protrude on each side which allow the module to be fastened to the rack frame with screws.
See for further explanation.

Please define what you mean with “Mobile“. Should this unit be able to be
transported by a helicopter or should it have itself an engine?

The unit can be self powered, or be towable by another vehicle such as a sno-mobile, or dog-team, reindeer, wind ect.

What is a “snow smelter”?

A device to melt snow to produce potable fresh water.

What is the life span of the station?

A 5 year minimum lifespan, with hopes for it to survive as long as possible.  At the end of it's lifespan, the unit will either be reporposed, or removed from the circumpolar region.

Are there to be seperate baths for the women?

Separate men's and women's baths are not necessary - we expect due to the nature of the work and the space requirements, there would be a shared bath.

How many women are in the group?

The team will be constantly shifting, sometimes it may work out there are only men, other times only women, however we expect some combination of the two.

You will give us the terrain or we can choose/create it?

The first unit built will be deployed near Igloolik, Nunavut.  The station is to be portable/movable, so in this sense we cannot give you a terrain, but it should be able to 'live' in a variety of terrains - typically in nunavut it is quite flat - or at least one could find a place where it is flat.

you might find the resources and links on this page to be interesting: (especially the interactive map)

What is the main focus, a very artistic and visionary idea or a visionary but realisable technical idea?

We intend to realize the unit in some combination of design solutions.  However, visionary ideas are always welcome.

Any specifics for the media-centric facility – dimensions of the work module - etc?

The only specifics we have are outlined in the CFP.  However, to further clarify, we didn't want to put any restrictions on physical size, as the unit could be deployable from a towable trailer, such as a tent structure or something similar.  Others may want to incorporate multiple small structures which can be linked, and so on.  We need to accommodate a number of people living and working, albeit we realize the space will of course be limited.
Printing poster size doesn’t correspond to any North American or European standards, please clarify.

Please simply use the following specs from the website:

    * 1.0     A digital file of a single presentation poster formatted for printing at 130cm x 50cm landscape format. The poster should be a minimum of 150 dpi and a maximum of 600 dpi in TIFF CMYK format.

In your software or scan of your drawing, please format your poster accordingly.  We will print the posters selected for the exhibition.

What are CFD files?

'Computational Fluid Dynamics" - please see:

NOTE these are NOT a requirement for entry, however if you would like to include them, we welcome your calculations.

'provision for modularity of systems on site'  - does this mean ideally more than on of the mobile could be fitted together to form a community like structure?
Yes, exactly.

Could you clarify how the occupants will be interacting with the local community? Will the unit be placed within a settlement or will they observe from a distance?

After the initial testing phase, there will be a core technical team made up of people from the local community,  which will be trained in the operation and maintenance of the unit.  In addition, the local community will also manage the use of the unit itself. We plan to have a sort of programming committee which will then plan the activities for unit as well. In this way we hope to have people from the larger circumpolar area to come and work with the unit as well as researchers from around the world use it as well - but who does what, and when will be decided by the local community, so in this way they will 'own' it.

Do you have any idea what an average day might be like for the occupants? Will they operate on a flexible schedule or have a fixed routine, will the unit be expected to accommodate visitors or large groups?

We suspect it will be very different all of the time.  However there will be typical systems and communal duties, like living in any isolated group, such as cooking and cleaning, setup, computer maintenance and so on. The unit will not be able to accept large groups as a visit, however when it is brought back to the town, then it could be 'on display' in a sense.

What does "open source architecture/system/machine" mean?

The intention here is to design a system that would be ultimately situated in the public domain, as a resource to people who would want to build a system or modify it. Architecture-system-machine is here to designate the different types of functions and modalities the unit should have. It is an architectural work, a system of systems and a machine for living, moving, working.

What do you mean by "containing mass/industrial and amateur production/manufacturing potential"?

The intention here is that the design should be optimised so it can be produced both on a very large scale and if someone wants, one should be able to build it in their own garage, as an amateur builder.

Do you mean that the design can be built both by a company in a factory or my an amateur in their garage?


We need to know Crew/Duration/Conditions, ie:
        a. how many people it is intended to support,          b. for how long, and          c. at what boundary temperature/s.

The crew should be a maximum of 3 people, up to 15 days, boundary temperatures for the Arctic-Antarctic conditions, i.e., -40 to 20, with the inside temperature minimum of 17 and a maximum of 23.

Mission Timeline: Is there a seasonal boundary on this unit's operation, or will it need to function year-round (in the Arctic)?

Year round should be the final goal, but Spring-Summer-Autumn operations are crucial.

Support utilities: Are we to assume external resources for any of the energy generation, waste processing, communications, storage or transportation functions?

Yes, the system can be modular and this can be part of the design.

Scope: Will there be just one or multiple units built to accommodate the stated program?

If you mean if there is an intention to build more than 1 prototype the answer is yes, if you are asking if there can be multiple units to accomplish the stated program, we would like to see as compact a design as possible, but if feasable for design purposes, you should be able to have multiple modules in a system.

Delivery: How is the unit delivered to its arena of operations?

We are not prescribing this, it is up to the design. It could be anything from helicopter drop, to shipping container to air cargo, to barge...

Mission: What is the primary activity the unit is intended to support?

Environmental sensing, media production, real time media dissemination from remote areas. Art-Science-Engineering collaborations, with Inuit participation in all areas.

In-Situ Support: What resources will be available on-site for assembly and activation of the habitat and support impedimenta?

A crew of 3 should be able to assemble and operate the system.

Life Cycle: Will the unit/s be re-stowed and removed from the arctic arena at the end of operations?


If no (if left in situ), what is the expectation for functionality during and after the hibernation period?

Depending on the design of course, but we would like them to be as sturdy as possible.

Standards: What standard/s or building code/s is this unit expected to meet in design and construction? (eg, MIL-STD TBD, OSHA, etc.)

MIL-STD 810E methods and specifications should be consulted, especially 502.3, 506.3, 507.3, 510.3, 512.3, 516.4, 520.1, AND 521.1.
But testing is not expected in this phase due to cost constraints.

Skill level: Who are the occupants expected to be, and what is their level of experience in extreme environments?

The systems should be simple enough to operate that a person with limited technical knowledge can go through a 7 day training session and is able to operate them.

Operations/Support: Will there be real-time monitoring of the team during their mission?

Yes. Real time communications are very important.

Emergency Response: What is the SAR plan and timeline in the event of emergency?

Standard EPIRB 406 MHz equipment should be installed and an emergency support system for 15 days should be part of the design considerations.

Communications/Telemetry: What kind of communications uplink/s and/or telemetry will the unit support?

SATCOM (Inmarsat), VHF, UHF, HF amateur radios and modems and open communications systems in the microwave ranges. 2.4 GHz, 868MHz, 902MHz and 1.2 GHz.

When i submit everything, do i need to scan the entry form and submit it as a jpeg with the rest of the submission material?

To fill out the form, you could enter the information using adobe's acrobat pro, or there is the freebie software formulatepro -, or you can use a trick with Microsoft word as described here: (we know this is on a mac hints page, but it should work across platforms)

failing all of that, you could print it out, fill it out by hand, scan it and send it to us.

Does everything need to be submitted in one email?

That would be best, however we understand if your file is over 10MB, then please use our FTP site or a service such as

Is there a formal pre-registration?

No, there is no pre-registration process.  Please simply enclose the registration form with your submission, by August 1st, 2009

Can the Japanese participate in MOBILE MEDIA-CENTRIC HABITATION AND WORK UNIT Competition?

The competition is open to all, from any country in the world.

Can students / teams enter the competition?

Yes. In the case of teams, please attach additional pages of the registration form clearly noting the team and all the members.

Is it allowed to deliver two different concepts for the competition?

Yes.  There is no limit for submissions.


DEADLINE: AUGUST 1ST, 2009, 23:59:59 UTC

Please note there is no formal pre-registration process. You can submit your proposal at any time before the deadline.

To submit via email:

Please use a webservice such as yousendit, rapidshare or an equivalent.

Send all files to: final2009[at]arcticperspective[dot]org

 If you have any issues using the above services, or your file is over 100MB, please contact final[AT]arcticperspective[DOT]org to resolve.



Arctic Perspective Initiative
c/o Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV)
Güntherstraße 65
D - 44143 Dortmund

Tel: +49 (0)231-82 31 06 (Office)

Fax: +49 (0)231-88 20 240

For Additional information please contact:


Jury Members

Design Competition Jury Member Biographies, Iceland, Sep 2009

Inke Arns
Artistic Director, Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV), Dortmund, Germany
PhD (Dr. phil.) in Slavic Studies, since 2005 artistic director of HMKV. She has worked as an independent curator and writer specializing in media art, Net cultures, and eastern Europe. Since 1993 she has curated exhibitions in Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Kosovo, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and Switzerland. She lived in Paris (1982-86), studied Slavic Studies, Eastern European studies, political science, and art history in Berlin and Amsterdam (1988-96) and has held teaching positions at universities and art academies in Berlin, Leipzig, Rotterdam, and Zurich. She has lectured and published internationally.
Johan Berte
Antarctic Station Project Manager, International Polar Foundation, Brussels, Belgium, et al.
Freelance industrial designer responsible for the design and engineering of the new Belgian Antarctic research station “Princess Elisabeth”. Before this assignment by the International Polar Foundation (IPF) he worked as a conceptual designer, system engineer and project manager in innovation projects ranging from industrial automation, research projects in new technologies, aerospace instrumentation, automotive design and advanced architecture. The Princess Elisabeth Station located in the extreme environment of continental East-Antarctica foresees in its own energy supply and recycles waste water. The design methodology applied breaks away from usual preconceptions making for instance best use of local conditions considering the hostile environment as an ally rather than the “enemy”. Johan’s participation in five Antarctic expeditions and most of all his experience in designing and building the Princess Elisabeth Station has made him one of the few Polar building experts around.,
Matthew Biederman
Artist, Director, C-TASC, Montréal, Canada
Matthew Biederman (a.k.a. DelRay), has been performing, installing and exhibiting artworks which explore themes of perception, media saturation, and data systems since the mid-nineties. Biederman was the recipient of the Bay Area Artist Award in Video by New Langton Arts in 1999, First Place in the Visual Arts category of Slovenia’s Break21 festival. His work has been exhibited in the US, South America, and Europe in a variety of festivals and venues. 
Michael Bravo
Convenor of the Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group, Scott Polar Research Institute, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Great Britain
Michael Bravo is Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge.  As Head of the Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group at the Scott Polar Research Institute, he draws on a multidisciplinary background in engineering, history, and philosophy. He played a key role in writing the humanities theme for the recent International Polar Year (2007-2009), the first such 'big science' polar event to include explicitly the importance of citizenship as well as the participation of northern peoples and social scientists. Bravo is co-editor of Narrating the Arctic (2002) and the author of numerous scholarly and popular articles about the Arctic.
Francesca Ferguson
Independet curator, Basel, Switzerland
Francesca Ferguson is an independent curator and the initiator of urban drift, an international network for contemporary issues in architecture and urbanism. She has been director of the Swiss Architecture Museum from 2006 to 2009. urban drift has organised exhibitions, conferences, symposia and workshops that reflect upon architectural themes in the light of economic and social developments. Commissioned by the German Ministry of Transport & Housing Francesca Ferguson curated „Deutschlandscape“ (9th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2004); „Talking Cities“ (ENTRY2006, International Forum for Architecture and Design, Zeche Zollverein, Essen, Germany, 2006).,
Andreas Müller
An Architektur, Berlin, Germany
Andreas Müller is an architect, living in Berlin. He is a co-founder and publisher of the architecture magazine ‘An Architektur,’ and part of the ‘Cooperative for Display Politics.’ His work as an exhibition designer explores the possibilities of public mediation, spatial narrations and educational approaches in the medium of an exhibition. Currently he is conducting a research project on participation in architecture at the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht. Recent exhibition designs (selection): “Utopie und Monument 1”, Steirischer Herbst, Graz 2009; “An Atlas of Radical Geography”, Casco Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht 2009; “In the Desert of Modernity. Colonial Planning and After”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2008, and Abattoirs Casablanca 2009 (with Jesko Fezer and Anna Voswinkel).
Marko Peljhan
Artist, Director, Projekt Atol, Ljubljana, Slovenia, co-director University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, Santa Barbara, USA
A native of Slovenia, conceptual artist and a theatre and radio director by profession, Marko Peljhan founded the arts and technology organization Projekt Atol in 1992. He has been working on the Makrolab project that focuses on telecommunications, migrations and weather systems research at the intersection of art and science from 1997-2007, the Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation during the International Polar Year 2006-2009 and is currently coordinating the Arctic Perspective Initiative art/science/tactical media project. He is the recipient of many prizes for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica at Ars Electronica (with Carsten Nicolai) in 2000 and the UNESCO Digital Media Prize in 2004. During 2008, Peljhan was appointed as one of the European Union Ambassadors of Intercultural dialogue. Peljhan holds joint appointments with the Department of Art and the Media Arts & Technology graduate program at the University of California Santa Barbara and was recently appointed as Co-Director of the UC Institute for Research in the Arts.
Nicola Triscott
Director of The Arts Catalyst, London, Great Britain
Nicola Triscott is a cultural producer, working in the performing, interdisciplinary and visual arts. She founded The Arts Catalyst in 1993. As Director of Arts Catalyst, she has built alliances internationally between disciplines and commissioned more than 60 art projects. Nicola writes and speaks regularly at international conferences on the interrelationships between art, science, technology and society. She is currently the NESTA Arts & Environment Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme. After studying physics at Imperial College and geography at University College London, Nicola worked in theatre production, arts policy and management, and as a freelance arts consultant. Prior to setting up Arts Catalyst, she was working and researching in southern, central and east Africa.