Glaciers are one of our planet’s most important archives. Not only do they preserve organic matter such as plants and soil from the Earth’s past, but also air trapped within the ice ranging anywhere from 500 to 500,000 years old. This air contains important information about the progression and natural ebb and flow of our atmosphere. Though, as a result of climate change, these glaciers are receding at incredible rates, and along with them the important records that are held in their layers. In Wake creates a visual archive of the Pariacaca glacial range in the Peruvian Andes. At three points I have placed USB drives that have been waterproofed and cast in concrete that contain photographs taken from the exact location of the USB drive. The photographs, along with a text file translated into five different languages explaining the device’s function, are stored only on these drives and will never be printed, published, or put online: they exist only where they were initially made. Through this action I have not only preserved a visual description of Pariacaca, but also the exclusivity of the space itself. In order to see what the glaciers looked like at that given moment, one must still physically travel to the location with a device that will read the USB drives.
The lives of the USB drives are finite. Despite their waterproofing and concrete casing, these drives will degrade over time and cease to function: they too, just like the glaciers, have their own mortality. There are no plans to service or repair the devices. Thusly they become a symbol of our actions towards our planet in the last century. Without proper care, they will of course lose their information and become defunct.
With each image on this page are the exact coordinates at which the USB drives were dropped along with their elevation and a photograph of them in the landscape. This information is offered as a map for those who so desire to travel and find the drives for as long as they exist: to compare the past and present side by side or even perhaps service and update the devices themselves.
Dropped USB Devices
Drop Locations on Pariacaca, Peruvian Andes
Drop Location #1
Coordinates: S 12°02.188′, W 76°01.759′
Elevation: 14,642 ft
Drop Location #2
Coordinates: S 12°00.266′, W 76°01.120′
Elevation: 15,374 ft
Drop Location #3
Coordinates: S 11°59.955′, W 76°00.176′
Elevation: 16,482 ft