The Skene Expedition, Parts I and II, is a project carried out during the two-weeks Ars Bioarctica residency in Kilpisjärvi, in Northern Lapland (Finland). It consists of the realization of a model for theater set representing in a miniature scale the mountain range by the subarctic Lake Kilpis (Kilpisjärvi). Once realized, the model would be carried and staged in specific locations in Kilpisjärvi area, which access would demand an intense physical effort due to the quality of the terrain or due to the extreme weather conditions of the region.
Roumagnac plays here with the figure of the explorer, halfway between the identity of the scientist and that of the hero, so close according to him of the character of the artist (proximity enhanced by the specificity of the residency (art and science) where the project was taking place). The stage director turns himself into the (anti-) hero of his own mis-en-scène, but who is not the actor but the spectator of the piece itself. Using the codes of the self-portrait and site intervention (after Alÿs), Roumagnac doubles his concern about the relation between stage and backstage with a self-derision oriented work on his status of artist-researcher in Finland, in those hostile polar regions, archetypically (exotically?) activited here as a metaphor for art as the (dramatic) quest for the absolute and the elementary.
Part I – on the slopes of Fell Saana
On the hike to the Fell Saana during the first week of the residency I paid attention to a sort of wooden stage before a wooden bench put there in the middle of the mountain slopes, beside the ascending hiking trail, probably for hikers to make a pause to sight-see the « landscape » meanwhile resting from the steep ascent of the fell. The project would be triggered by this stage encounter. One week after the first hiking I came back on the site with the decor model and staged it.