Situated in Norway and Russia respectively, the mining towns of Kirkenes and Nikel are two of the most striking urban areas in the world. However, despite being separated by just a short drive across the border, the two Arctic settlements couldn’t be any more different.
Kirkenes, a hotspot for tourism, is full of colourful family homes surrounded by a pristine winter environment. Nikel, on the other hand – which which owes its existence to the vast quantities of nickel that have been mined nearby since the 1930s – is a diminishing mono-industry area, characterised by the billowing smoke coming from its smelter.
“We initially travelled to Kirkenes to film an arts festival called Barents Spektakel in 2017,” Lane explains. “This trip inspired the film idea and gave us the access to the people and places who feature in the film. We returned in 2018 with a commission from Channel 4’s Random Acts to make a visual poem of the Arctic.”
Paired with a poem (written by Laura Kirwan-Ashman and read by Adjoa Andoh) that offers Mother Nature’s perspective on the damage humans are doing to the natural world, Lane’s film operates as a stark warning of what’s to come.
“Humanity is verging on the point of no return, we are mining for natural resources in the last remaining places of wilderness on our planet,” says Victor Frankowski, a photographer who worked on the project with Lane. “If we continue on this path the planet we live on will fight back. If we destroy mother nature, mother nature will destroy us.”
See more from Random Acts.