Arctic Then, 2006
Arctic Then translates scientists’ digital elevation models of arctic circle glaciers in a 3D rendering program into virtual landscapes incorporating approximate weather patterns and temperature sensitivity. Each glacier is the focus of research for glaciologists who seek to understand the alarming accelerating response of Arctic glaciers to climate change. Brooding light, approaching stormy weather, meltwater pools taint the sublime terrains with an uncertain atmosphere.
In these landscapes of scientific technology, narrative tableaux of vaudevillian performers engage in feats of wonder. Nineteenth century Western explorers of the Arctic brought as much of Western culture with them as they could possibly burden their ships with, including trunks of sets and costumes with which to create spectacles upon the ice during the long dark winters while ships were caught in the ice. Imagine being a largely uneducated sailor on a boat with perhaps forty others alongside a handful of scientists and explorers. What can draw you together? As you face possible death while ice threatens to shatter your ship in pieces, what can you create that counters despair? It was in the farces, melodramas, acrobatics, and pantomimes of the day that the crews would find wonder, humor, and another world. The images from the series Arctic Then reenact that need for flights of imagination in the face of overwhelming destruction, but in a very different light as we confront our tenuous future in the face of climate change.
With thanks for the data, inspiration, generosity, and input of Dr. Matt Nolan, University of Fairbanks, AK
Arctic Then: Deb questing, McCall Glacier, Alaska, DEM 1956, 2006
Arctic Then: Bonnie and Tim, Columbia Glacier, 2006
Arctic Then: Harry and the things he’s balanced, Greenland, 2006
Arctic Then: Naomi supervised by Mike, Austfonna Glacier, Svalbard, Norway, 2006
All lightjet print on Fuji Crystal Archive, 16” x 20”, Edition of 10 + 2 AP & 36″ x 48″ edition of 5 + 1 AP
ICA Boston, 2006
Ellen Miller Gallery, Boston, MA, 2008
Rice Pollack Gallery, Provincetown, MA, 2010