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Patricia Suchy and Vince LiCata: Persistence of Vision: Antarctica


Summary Note

The project “Persistence of Vision: Antarctica” by Patricia Suchy and Vince LiCata recreates modern versions of some of the most iconic photographs of the Antarctic continent taken 100-plus years ago.

Biographical Note

Patricia A. Suchy (Trish) is the Hopkins Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Screen Arts program at Louisiana State University. She directs performances in the Hopkins Black Box Theater and teaches courses in film history, documentary, Bakhtinian theory, and performance genres such as installation art and media theater. She has served on the National Research Board for the National Communication Association (NCA) and chaired the Performance Studies Division of NCA. Her essays and video projects have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Annual, CineAction, liminalities.net, SouthernSpaces.org, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and On Site. She has directed over 40 performances and videos. Suchy is also a founding member of the Antarctic Artists and Writers Collective, a non-profit organization for past grantees of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Her NSF Antarctic project, a video installation produced in collaboration with Vince LiCata, features video portraits made as re-enactments of photographs from the Heroic Age of Antarctic science entitled “Persistence of Vision: Antarctica."

Vince LiCata is a biochemist in the Department of Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University, He also writes science-based plays that have been produced in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Kansas City, New York, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Bangkok. COCKTAIL, co-written with Ping Chong, premiered at Swine Palace, and was published by Silkworm Books. His recent play DNA STORY also premiered in Baton Rouge, and is being filmed with support from the Coypu Foundation. Vince has twice won the Baltimore Playwright's Festival. He has also appeared onstage, including in: The Elephant Man, Mousetrap, Arsenic and Old Lace, Killing the Beast, Uncle Vanya, The Grass Harp, Spoon River Anthology, Twelve Angry Men, and locally in: All in the Timing, A View of the Dome, The Adventures of Little Red Riding Hood, and Sacred Waste. Current ongoing projects include SciDance: where scientific concepts are choreographed into dances, and SciArt Conversations: a presentation series, co-curated with Kristin Sosnowsky, where artists and scientists are asked to present and respond to each other on a topic where their interests overlap.

Scope and Content

Patricia Suchy and Vince LiCata received support from the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program for their project “Persistence of Vision: Antarctica.” The pair worked with scientists and staff at McMurdo Station in Antarctica to recreate modern versions of some of the most iconic photographs of the Antarctic continent taken 100-plus years ago.

Antarctic expeditions during the “Heroic Age” often included a photographer to document the landscapes, the people, and the discoveries made by explorers and scientists such as Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Adrian Wilson, Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton. Suchy and LiCata worked with modern researchers and staff at McMurdo and in the field to re-enact historic photos, most of them taken originally by Herbert Ponting on Scott’s Terra Nova expedition, the first to include an extensive scientific program of study.

Suchy and LiCata had the re-enactors in their contemporary photos wear their modern winter gear and pose in their current laboratories and research facilities now in McMurdo. For example, where a photo from the 1910 - 1913 Terra Nova expedition might show a dog sled and explorer in a heavy woolen coat, the Suchy and LiCata photo shows a scientist with a snowmobile in a modern parka conveying supplies in the same location. The photos also showcase the internationally diverse group of people who work on this remote continent.
The way the modern scientists and staff are photographed was unique. Using artistic techniques with which artists like Bill Viola and Robert Wilson have experimented, Suchy and LiCata made high-definition extreme slow-motion “video portraits,” in which the image at first looks like a photograph to the viewer, but upon closer inspection is seen to be slowly moving. The team also worked on variations of the video portrait form, using modern mirrorless digital and action cameras in the place of historical photographer Ponting’s film cameras and cinematograph.

Materials include the National Science Foundation grant application with project narrative, a video essay, the videos created for the project, and exhibition ephemera.


Folders are arranged by subject matter.

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates


Quantity / Extent

.125 cubic feet



Related Archive Collections

  • CAE1103: Joan Myers: Wondrous Cold, An Antarctic Journey
  • CAE1107: Stephen Eastaugh: Antarctic Work
  • CAE1112: Simon Balm: Stellar Axis, Antarctica
  • CAE1116: Chris Drury: Antarctica
  • CAE1117: William L. Fox: Terra Antarctica
  • CAE1202: David Rosenthal: Paintings of the North and South Polar Regions
  • CAE1217: Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid: Ice Music
  • CAE1218: Jean de Pomereu: Antarctic Photographs
  • CAE1219: Stuart Klipper: The Antarctic: From the Circle to the Pole
  • CAE1307: Chris Kannen: An Antarctic Extended Season
  • CAE1605: Anna McKee: 68,000 Years of Ice
  • CAE1806: Bruce Licher: Stamping Antarctica
  • CAE1903: David Arnold: Antarctic Re-Explorations
  • CAE1910: Helen Glazer: Walking in Antarctica
  • CAE1911: Donald Fortescue: Instrument (90°S)
  • CAE2013: Shaun O’Boyle: Polar Environments
  • CAE2108: Martin Walch: Another Time: Temporal Rhythms in the Antarctic Summer
  • CAE2214: David Ruth: Antarctic Cast Glass

Related Publications

Fox, William L. Terra Antarctica: Looking into the Emptiest Continent. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press, 2005.

Ponting, Herbert George and Frank Hurley. 1910-1916 Antarctic Photographs: Scott, Mawson, and Shackleton Expedition. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1980.

Ponting, Herbert George. Scott's Last Voyage, Through the Antarctic Camera of Herbert Ponting. New York, NY: Praeger Publishers, 1975.

Ponting, Herbert George. The Great White South. New York, NY: R. M. McBride & Company, 1923.

Scott Polar Institute. Captain Scott's Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913: The Photographs of Herbert Ponting. Ulbeek, Belgium: Salto Ulbeek, 2009.

Container Listing:

  • CAE Box 288

    • Folder 3 Exhibition Materials, 2017
    • Folder 2 Project Videos, 2017
    • Folder 1 NSF Application and Narrative, 2013