The History of Fantasy
feat. Freia Hutzschenreuter

:: work-in-progress ::

This is a short piece about Freia Hutzschenreuter and her Longyear City.

Freia Hutzschenreuter – German by origin – is an elderly Longyearbyen resident who has spent 45 years living in Spitsbergen. I first met Freia in early autumn 2013 before I embarked on a 2-week sailing boat trip in the Arctic Ocean. Our first encounter was entirely serendipitous: I was walking uphill heading back to the lodge I stayed after a short visit to town center on the day of arrival; Freia was walking downhill on the way to dispose her “black old TV” at the town’s recycling site, we cross-path when approaching one another from opposite direction.

Freia said hello to me so I greeted her and then we stood there talking to each other for 1 hour, it was as simple as that. We were both curious about each other’s existence in this very place and so we started to tell stories about ourselves. At time, Freia was 75 years old. She has never owned any phone or computer. She lived by herself for more than half of her life in Spitsbergen. She never learns how to drive. She has been communicating with her family and friends near and afar through snail mails. I managed to meet Freia for multiple times before and after my sailing trip, it was truly fascinating and surprising whenever I get to listen and talk to her.

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I do not tend to look for eccentric people or exciting incident, but it is impossible for me to avoid either of them when I throw myself out there in the extreme land. I very much hope to be selected to take part in DEFAULT 15 so I could continue my exploration regarding to the social and cultural structure formed in extreme lands.

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