In the book Nostalgia Espen Gleditsch investigates how we perceive, interpret and communicate optical phenomena, geography and history. Through photography and text-works, the book begins with a historical mirage seen in 1818, a phenomenon at the interface between subjective experience and objective facts.
In 1818, the British Navy sought to find the Northwest Passage, the supposed sea way between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In the book, the story of the failed expedition is presented trough an article that conveys Gleditsch’s interpretation of the events. Captain Sir John Ross led the expedition in which 91 men spent seven arduous months in Arctic waters. It was believed that the opening of the passage was found in the in Lancaster Sound, and there were high hopes and expectations for the economic exploration of it. When the ships finally reached the sound on a foggy morning the Captain spotted a mountain range that closed the sound. The captain concluded that the strait was closed and that the passage did not exist. Contrary to the opinions of his junior officers, he ordered the ships home instead of exploring the waters. The following year a new expedition concluded that the opening to the passage is located in Lancaster Sound. The mountains seen by the captain was a simple mirage, a well documented phenomenom in arctic waters during the summer.
In Nostalgia the mirage, photography, light and the play between the specific and the non-figurative meets.