Selections From The Abandoned Antarctic Research Post

The Institute for the Advancement of Metatemporal Education and Research would like to thank the Abandoned Antarctic Research Post (AOT) for their contributions to this exhibition. Not only have they loaned us several valuable items from their collection, but they also planned and curated this exhibition. As a token of our gratitude, we have donated a few items from the Field Museum's permanent collection to the Abandoned Antarctic Shanty's cause. We hope that the IAMER Field Museum and the Abandoned Antarctic Shanty will continue to have a positive working relationship for the remainder of our time here.

Exhibition Images


The following information was provided by the Antarctic Research Post's curatorial team.

Recently discovered on the continent Antarctica, the items displayed in this exhibition come from the well-preserved remnants of an international research station, AOT. This discovery, nearly 500 kilometers from the South Pole, has offered evidence of the processes and purposes of this Antarctic scientific community, as well as insight into a general insouciant attitude and seemingly cynical pessimism of the researchers themselves. The graffiti "You call this science?" on the exterior of the station speaks to this attitude.

The prevailing assessment is that the discovered Station was that of a multi-national collaboration, used by a team of scientists and researchers from myriad nation-states. Objects found that corroborate this assessment include currency, tools and literature from various countries, as well as writing samples (mostly gibberish) penned in several different languages.

Oddly, very few items that would be deemed "scientific" were found at the site. Glass containers (mostly without sufficient covering), polymerized sacs, and a single instrument presumably for determining mass were present. Also, it was impossible to determine if the site ever possessed a power source - electric, gas, wind, or otherwise - that would be necessary for the study typical of Antarctic Research Stations. Just giant windows, presumably for solar luminescence. It should also be known there were no logs, records, files, diaries, journals, daybooks, almanacs, ledgers, minutes, statements, annals, or chronologies found. Only notes with indecipherable scribbling. We have no idea what "research" they may have been doing here, if any.

The remaining objects of most interest were those that contributed to the strongest assertions of the lifestyles of the station's inhabitants. Countless emptied glass vessels that once contained intoxicating elixirs; tobacco and marijuana rolling papers (confiscated), cigarettes, and consumed filters; ethylene glycol and its antidote, fomepizole; scores of dried, fatty meats; dozens of baked, sucrose-filled pastries; confectionary candies of various flavors, shapes and styles; and tens of thousands of male contraceptive devices. Sounds like a party.

The less notable objects appear to be that of general detritus - unidentifiable wrappers, kitschy figurines, mobiles with no formal compositional structure or aesthetic, expired butane igniting devices... There was no refuse receptacle on the site.


The findings at the AOT site have left many questions unanswered. However, based on previous conclusions from various abandoned research stations on Antarctica, it has been asserted that the discoveries found at the AOT site describe an atypical situation, one that may have ended catastrophically. Despite the lack of hard evidence to substantiate this extreme claim (e.g. bodies), the overwhelming evidence of intoxication, copulation, chemical experimentation and inhalation of multiple substances paints a portrait of a research post gone awry. Wish I could have been there.

Mysteries on Antarctica are not uncommon.

Further study will be necessary to determine the cause/s that led to such dysfunction. Improper preparation for extreme conditions, sudden withdrawal of funding, inter-post disputes and discord, utter incompetence are all plausible scenarios that will have to be probed and added to the existing determinations for a more complete picture of the history of Abandoned Antarctic Research Post (AOT).