Nansen’s Pastport is a fine-press limited-edition book to be published with Two Ponds Press. The book’s creation coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the League of Nation’s Paris Conference on Passports & Customs Formalities and Through Tickets which established the first guidelines for the modern passport. The 1920 standardization of the passport was closely followed in 1921 by a refugee passport for stateless people. This “Nansen Passport,” as it became known, was devised by Norwegian polar explorer, scientist, and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen in his role as High Commissioner for Refugees in the League of Nations as the first legal instrument used for the international protection of refugees. Nansen’s humanitarian efforts would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize twice: to him personally in 1922, and to the Nansen International Office for Refugees in 1938. The program came to an end at the beginning of the Second World War.
Nansen’s Pastport is inspired by Nansen’s eponymous refugee program but it is also an imagined I.D. for a time when the importance of national identity is superseded by global identity due to the universal and borderless effects of a climate-caused humanitarian crisis.
With new passport standards expected to be introduced for 2020, and additional biometric security measures already a part of international border crossing in many parts of the world, the traditional printed passport book is becoming obsolete. Nansen’s Pastport is a reflection on the passport book’s role in the establishment of formal paperwork representing identity, allegiance, and geographic belonging at a time when the documentation of belonging is increasingly at odds with the rise of mass human migration due to global climate change. Nansen’s Pastport suggests that everyone, no matter where they are from, may one day become a refugee.
The Banknote Collages of Nansen's Pastport
Nansen’s Pastport contains a series of 13 prints of banknote collages representing several environmental crisis-related scenes. The collages in Nansen’s Pastport are created entirely with $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 American banknotes, the currency of choice for the oil trade. See three of these below.