Antarctica in the 21st century is something of a paradox. This most forbidding of places is fragile, dissolving as we watch—and more susceptible than ever to invasion. Visitors to the region are made to vacuum their outerwear and inspect their pockets for seeds, crumbs, and other non-native elements before first setting foot on terra firma. People in this austere land, even travelers and wandering artists, are by definition aliens.

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