Sea hunter’s camp, Inahpak, Chamisso’s Shadow, 2014 | © Ulrike Ottinger
The Bering Sea is the place that the Eurasian and American continents meet, where related ethnicities and cultures intersect that are influenced by a long history of colonial transformations and have yet preserved parts of their indigenous language and their knowledge. It is also the place where the economic and geopolitical interests of the inhabitants collide with global politics.
Inspired by historical reports of famous explorers like Alexander von Humboldt, Georg Wilhelm Steller, Reinhold and Georg Forster and Adelbert von Chamisso in particular, Ulrike Ottinger set out on a journey. With her own unique artistic, ethnographic viewpoint, she links the historic reports, findings and pictorial portrayals with her personal travel notes and photographs. Thus the past and present converge in the film to highlight historic and cultural changes. Tension is created between then and now to reveal how very inseparable the two are.