Lewis Harrower and Andrea Elder's soundscape explores the story behind Phyllis Wager's typewriter in the Polar Museum's collection.
When Phyllis Wager travelled to East Greenland as part of a British expedition in 1935, it was so unusual for women to travel to the Polar regions that special permission was needed from the Foreign Office. What can her Remington Home Portable typewriter tell us about her work?
Lewis and Andrea write:
"We share an interest in old technologies and were excited to tell a different story of the Polar expedition showcasing the day to day as well as the hiking in freezing conditions. Our approach was to imagine the lives of these researchers behind the reports. The stories we tell through the soundscape were gathered from the obituary of Phyllis and other research. We hope to have encapsulated the whole experience in just a short time and allow the listener to imagine for themselves what it may have been like."
Charlotte Connelly, Museum Curator at the Polar Museum, responds:
"I really enjoyed listening to this and imagining Phyllis typing up her notes while she reflected on travelling through the Greenlandic landscape or socialising with her fellow expedition members. It felt like a brilliant whistle-stop tour of the expedition, thank you!"
Guest Curator Marenka Thompson-Odlum writes,
"I enjoyed this submission because, like the BSL plate soundscape Afternoon Sounds, it evoked a sense of place, but instead of the warm drawing room and summer garden feeling I felt the freezing blistering winds of the Arctic between the clicks of the Remington typewriter. The thought of nearly frozen fingers hitting the keys reminds me that, apart from the climatic hardships of a polar expedition, Wager and her fellow early female explorers had to contend with a myriad of wildly held doubts of whether women were suited for such work. She most likely had to wonder whether the echoes of a typewriter throughout the Arctic landscape would be the loudest reverberations her work would ever make in history, a thought less likely to occur to her male counterparts."
This track is part of the Museum Remix: Unheard project.