Ellie Ga, The Fortunetellers, 2008–11. Courtesy the artist
The Fortunetellers is an autobiographical narrative lecture based on the five months that artist Ellie Ga spent aboard Tara, a research sailboat frozen into the ice near the North Pole. Tara had been inserted into the ice in Eastern Siberia, at which point her rudders were lifted out, her engines were shut off, and she drifted solely with the movement of the pack ice. The Fortunetellers incorporates a vast array of documents (photographs, videos, annotated sketches, maps, travel log, etc.) and superimposes live storytelling and recorded sound to conjure up the terms and rituals of daily life in the Arctic night.
It was during an eighteen-month residency in the archives of the New York Explorers Club that Ellie Ga originally became fascinated with the Arctic. Ga was particularly interested in the incomplete paper trails of reportage and documentation that reflect the imperfection of memory of historical explorations. The logical conclusion of this research was to eventually be part of an expedition herself. This performance is presented in conjunction with the monthlong exhibition “Museum as Hub: Walking Drifting Dragging,” which features work by Ga relating to her time aboard Tara.
Ellie Ga was born in New York in 1976. Combining narrative genres such as the memoir and travelogue, Gaʼs projects explore the limits of photographic documentation and span a variety of media, culminating in performances and installations. Ga’s projects are research-intensive and often center on the artist’s role as interpreter within historical and scientific frameworks. She received her MFA from Hunter College, New York, and is a cofounder of Ugly Duckling Presse. Her performances have been featured at the Kitchen, New York, the Power Plant, Toronto, Playground Festival, Leuven, and Fondation Cartier, Paris. She was recently a Mejan Resident at the Royal College of Art in Stockholm and a researcher at the Centre for Maritime Archaeology in Alexandria, Egypt. She is represented by Bureau in New York.