An expedition of the Antarctic Biennale international social and cultural project has returned from the most mysterious continent of our planet. A participant of the first Antarctic Biennale, distinguished philosopher and publicist, SPbU associate professor Aleksandr Sekatsky, spoke about the inner core of the project and about his "lecture to penguins" delivered during one of the landings on the continent.

Participants of the first Antarctic Biennale created by the Russian artist Aleksandr Ponomarev returned to the mainland. Within the framework of the expedition, representatives of different countries and arts made over a dozen landings on the southernmost continent of the Earth, paid visits to research bases of several states and presented their creative works.

The Antarctic Biennale programme included installations, exhibitions, lectures and scientific discussions. Art projects were implemented during the landings on the ice coast of the continent, in oceanic waters and in the air of Antarctica, as well as on board the research vessel "Academician Sergei Vavilov", the flagship of the Russian scientific fleet.

During one of the landings, SPbU scientist and philosopher Aleksandr Sekatsky delivered a "lecture to penguins" dedicated to the idea of ​​pure contemplation. His speech was devoted to the need for a person to find a common language with wildlife. Such a language, according to the expert, is the one of art.

Scientists argue that the features of Antarctica create unique conditions for studying climate change, solar-terrestrial relationships and even forecasting magnetic storms. Aleksandr Sekatsky emphasises the need not only for scientific research, but also for creative understanding of Antarctica, calling it the second discovery of this continent.

"It is important that artists, architects, writers and other workers of art establish their own contact with the Antarctic," the expert believes. "Being still unexplored by man, this continent is a kind of a new version of an open future, a land having no burden of the past."

The Antarctic Biennale project brings together experts from different fields and creates a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue, emphasising particular importance of the role of art in solving the key problems of the modern world. The organisers highlight that the terms of the implementation of objects on the White Continent must include both the artistic value and strict compliance with environmental requirements to implementation of activities in the Antarctic. The project is implemented under the auspices of UNESCO.

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SPbU implements a portfolio of educational programmes dedicated to polar and marine research. Studies in the field of the Arctic and the Antarctic play an important role in the research and educational activity of St Petersburg University. Today the agenda includes provision of integrated development of the Arctic territories, including the issues of prospecting and exploration of new mineral deposits, sustainable use of natural resources, protection of the Arctic ecosystems. SPbU actively participates in these processes as an expert and academic centre, uniting major scientists and educating a new generation of polar researchers.