Art/Culture

Photo Friday: A Visit to Volcano Museums in Iceland

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: A Visit to Volcano Museums in Iceland

Spread the News:ShareLike millions of other travelers, Gísli Pálsson found that his travel plans were stymied by the 2010 eruption of Iceland’s glacier-covered Mt. Eyjafjallajökull, which canceled transatlantic flights and generated a glacial meltwater flood. As a professor of anthropology at the University of Iceland, Pálsson responded to the inconvenience in a creative way– by starting a project called Volcanologues, in which he and others affected by the eruption share their stories. As part of Volcanologues, Pálsson recently visited two museums that opened after the eruption: the Lava Center at Hvolsvöllur, and the other on a farm named Þorvaldseyri, as part of the “Eyjafjallajökull Erupts” tour. Check out his pictures, read this piece he wrote for GlacierHub, and start dreaming up your own visit to learn more about this historic eruption. Watch footage of the glacial flood caused by Mt. Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption:         Spread the...

Read More

Historic Glacier National Park Murals Restored

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Historic Glacier National Park Murals Restored

Spread the News:ShareChange is a constant theme in the dialogue surrounding Glacier National Park in Montana. Glaciers are retreating rapidly, reducing streamflow and threatening flora and fauna. Sometimes, however, change comes with renewal. One striking case is the recent restoration of a set of murals from the historic Glacier Lodge. Railroad tycoon Louis Hill, president of the Great Northern Railway in the early 20th century, deeply appreciated the beauty of the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains in northwestern Montana and sensed the financial opportunities the area offered. He pushed for it to become a national park and hoped to bring visitors by train to the new attraction. In 1910, President William Howard Taft signed a bill creating Glacier National Park, and Hill finished construction on the lodge in 1912. To add grandeur to the main lobby, a multi-story space lined by 40-foot fir pillars, he commissioned 51 murals depicting the new park’s landscapes and glaciers. When the lodge was remodeled in the 1950s, a few of the murals were left up, but most were thrown away. Local grocery store owners Robert and Leona Brown of East Glacier saved 15 of the murals, storing them in their garage, where they were discovered by their granddaughter Leanne Goldhahn in 2000, after the Browns had passed away. Leanne and her husband Alan donated the murals to the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, Montana. Donations to the museum supported the murals’ restoration, which the Missoulian reported cost between $3,000 and $5,000 per painting. Ethan McCauley, a Boy Scout from Polson, Montana, took the project on and raised $10,000 in under a year to help pay the restoration costs. The museum is still collecting funds to restore the remaining murals. The murals offer visitors not only simple beauty, but an opportunity to connect with the Glacier landscape, across both space and time. This is especially true for the painted vistas that visitors can see today by driving or taking a short hike, according to Tracy Johnson, executive director of the Hockaday. “People will come to the museum after a weekend in the park and say, ‘I was at that lake, I saw that waterfall,’” she said in an interview with GlacierHub. But just as apparent is how the landscape is different than when the vistas were painted. “By looking at the murals you can also see what’s changed—glaciers that have receded, a new lodge that was built. The murals are a documentation of that space. We can compare and see that the lake level dropped a bit, or rose,” Johnson said. Connection to the natural and cultural history of these landscapes may be important to the park’s future, says Lisa McKeon, who works to document glaciers in Glacier National Park with The Repeat Photography Project. “Helping visitors make the connections across the landscape is where the stepping stone of understanding glacier loss leads to a greater understanding of the whole system. Having a deeper sense of the place, visitors become engaged on a level that has more meaning, and perhaps creates a lasting impression that translates in to some kind of action,” she told GlacierHub. Three of the fully restored murals are on display at the Hockaday, two are on loan to the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish, and another is being displayed at the courthouse in Polson. This generosity is appreciated by the communities playing host to the murals, and Johnson reported that visitors from these towns often thank the museum for sharing the murals with them. These murals— in effect, historical documents of a visual nature— have profoundly affected out-of-state visitors...

Read More

Scaling Quelccaya: Depicting Climate Change Through Art

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Scaling Quelccaya: Depicting Climate Change Through Art

Spread the News:ShareThe Quelccaya Ice Cap, located in the Peruvian Andes, is the world’s largest tropical glaciated area. In an effort to conceptualize the scale of the glacier’s retreat, Meredith Leich, M.F.A. in film, video, media, and new animation at SAIC, and Andrew Malone, Ph.D. in glaciology and climatology at the University of Chicago, collaborated on a project in 2016 called “Scaling Quelccaya.” The project combines 30 years of satellite imagery of the Peruvian ice cap, 3-D animation, and gaming software to create a virtual representation of the glacier’s retreat using the city of Chicago as a “metering stick,” allowing viewers to develop a more elaborate sense of Quelccaya’s scale. The 3-D animation enables viewers to visualize the Peruvian ice cap and virtually “fly” through the Andes by converting satellite data into a Digital Elevation Model, then using a gaming software called Unity to transform it into a 3-D model. “Scaling Quelccaya” was initiated by Leich, who acknowledged having only an incomplete idea about the impact of climate change at the start of the project. Malone’s research of the Quelccaya ice cap was then transformed into the 3-D animation in order to allow the audience to visualize the melting effects on the ice cap, a more effective tool than graphs or charts alone. Malone used satellite data from the Landsat program, a series of satellites that has provided the longest temporal record of data of Earth’s surface, including the Quelccaya Ice Cap, to provide an accurate representation of the amount of ice loss over this period. This project allowed Leich and Malone to visually portray the consequences of climate change in ways that viewers could understand intuitively, contrasting the disappearance of the glaciers to a hypothetical disappearance of the Chicago area. In an interview with GlacierHub, Meredith Leich explains the inspiration behind the project’s comparison of Quelccaya with Chicago: “Instead of solely describing numerically how much Qori Kallis (one of Quelccaya’s glacial outlets) had retreated, we could show visually that the glacier had retreated the distance between the Willis Tower and the Tribune Tower in Chicago – a distance that an urban resident would understand viscerally, with embodied memories of walking the city streets.” The name of the project plays on the word scale, since it shows the scale of glacier retreat and allows viewers to scale the summit of a virtual glacier.    To get a better understanding of Quelccaya’s volume of snow, Leich and Malone began generating DEMs – Digital Elevation Models – from the satellite data obtained from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). The DEM calculated the height of every point on the glacier’s surface. The software then selected a shade of black, gray or white to represent each height. The uppermost height was registered as white, the lowest height as black, and every height in between mathematically assigned a corresponding shade of gray. Next, they generated a 3-D model with a gaming software called Unity by importing height maps as “terrains.” The terrain function read a combination of the DEM to create the virtual 3-D model based on the topography of the land. Finally, they used Maya, an animation and modeling program, to apply texture to the surface of the terrain, add light, and be able to move around the glacier to see it from all angles. Once the model was finished, Leich and Malone removed the equivalent of ice in Quelccaya and placed it on a model of Chicago as snow, with different variations of snow such as fluffy snow, firm snow, ice, and others. New York City (specifically Manhattan) is often chosen as a prime example...

Read More

Roundup: Greenland Earthquake, Mural Restoration, and Phytoplankton

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Roundup, Science | 0 comments

Roundup: Greenland Earthquake, Mural Restoration, and Phytoplankton

Spread the News:ShareGreenland Earthquake Triggers Landslide-Induced Tsunami From Temblor: “Over the weekend, a M=4.1 earthquake on Greenland’s western coast caused a massive landslide, triggering a tsunami that inundated small settlements on the coast. At this stage, four people are feared to have died, nine others were injured, and 11 buildings were destroyed. Glacial earthquakes are a relatively new class of seismic event, and are often linked to the calving of large outlet glaciers.” You can read more about the glacial earthquake in Greenland here. Mural Restoration at Glacier National Park From Hockaday Museum of Art: “Early visitors to Glacier Park Lodge were treated to architectural and visual grandeur inside the building that was almost as expansive as the surrounding landscape. The scenic panels covered hundreds of square feet and appeared in a 1939 Glacier Park Lodge inventory as ’51 watercolor panels.’ In September of 2012, Leanne Brown donated the murals to the Hockaday in memory of her grandparents, Leona and Robert Brown, who had saved and restored 15 of the murals.” Learn more about the restored murals here. Phytoplankton Growth in Alaska From AGU Publications: “Primary productivity in the Gulf of Alaska is limited by availability of the micronutrient iron (Fe). Identifying and quantifying the Fe sources to this region are therefore of fundamental ecological importance. Understanding the fundamental processes driving nutrient fluxes to surface waters in this region is made even more important by the fact that climate and global change are impacting many key processes, which could perturb the marine ecosystem in ways we do not understand.” Read more about phytoplankton growth in the Gulf of Alaska here.   Spread the...

Read More

Diane Burko’s New Exhibit, New Book, New Focus

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Interviews | 0 comments

Diane Burko’s New Exhibit, New Book, New Focus

Spread the News:ShareGlacierHub has featured the striking paintings and photographs of Diane Burko on several occasions (see here, here, here and here). A retrospective, Glacial Shifts, Changing Perspectives: Bearing Witness to Climate Change, presents her recent and current work. It is now on display at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where it will run through September 30, 2017. A catalog, with the same title as the exhibit, has been published. It includes reproductions of 40 of her pieces, along with an introduction by the Walton Art’s Center curator Andrea Packard, an article by William Fox of the Nevada Museum of Art which places Burko’s work in the context of mountain art, and an analytical essay by the art critic Carter Ratcliff, who has written on other American artists, including John Sargent Singer and Andy Warhol. The exhibit and catalog include work from Norway, Argentina, Greenland, and Antarctica, showing Burko’s engagement with the cryosphere. Her work adopts the task of promoting awareness of climate change. Her work also presents her simply as a painter and photographer with careful attention to technique and form and deep familiarity with many currents in modern and contemporary art. Burko is at the forefront of new explorations of the art/science frontier. She does not simply present scientific maps and charts as data, or as beautiful images. Rather, she leads her viewers to see them as objects in the world that co-exist with art and with the natural world itself. In this way, she allows us to see our rapidly changing world more clearly, to think about it more deeply, and to engage with it more fully. We recently interviewed Burko on the works in this exhibit and catalog. We were pleased that Burko’s publisher agreed to offer the book to readers of GlacierHub at a 20% discount. Details appear at the end of the interview.   GH: Some paintings show brushstrokes that reveal your motion, as you painted them. These paintings offer an oblique view. This is a contrast with the overhead view of other paintings, with cracks in the dried pigment, which suggest flying above a glacier landscape filled with crevasses. Are you seeking to convey a different experience of yours, or a different aspect of the glaciers? DB: This diptych Nunatak Glacier is an earlier work from my first project called Politics of Snow, shown in 2010. That catalog can be seen on my site. At that point, all the images I painted were “out-sourced” from USGS, National Snow and Ice Center or individuals. This example of repeat photography contrasts Bradford Washburn’s 1938 shot with a photojournalist’s effort to repeat the same vantage point in 2005. I made this painting in 2010. The style is more consistent with the way I was painting at the time. I think the “oblique view” is customary for this kind of documentation by glaciologists.   GH: Some of these paintings offer two views of the same peak from the same point, with different light and weather, a bit like Monet’s haystacks and views of Notre Dame. Some of your other work emphasizes  the surprise of the first encounter with a glacier, or the challenges of arriving in a harsh environment. These multiple views point to longer stays, to growing familiarity. Is this a theme you are seeking to evoke? DB: The curator, Andrea Packard, selected 6 out of the 12 original paintings from this Matterhorn Series – actually my first attempt to address issues of climate change in 2007 (also in that Politics of Snow show). By including Series VI and VIII, she could say the exhibit surveyed the last decade. Your Monet reference is so apt being that I spent six months on a residency in Giverny and enjoy...

Read More

Exploring Corporate Social Responsibility with KÜHL

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 1 comment

Exploring Corporate Social Responsibility with KÜHL

Spread the News:ShareMany companies today have corporate social responsibility programs that aim to improve their social and environmental impacts—and their appeal for investors and consumers. But critics argue that some of these programs are merely cosmetic and allow companies to continue to pursue socially or environmentally harmful business practices around the world. GlacierHub took a closer look at one CSR initiative that involves a glacier in South America. Sponsoring a Glacier Expedition The Utah-based outdoor clothing and gear company KÜHL, one of the largest outdoor gear companies in the U.S., states on its website that it is passionate about protecting the natural environment. As part of its mission, KÜHL, which is a play on the German word for “cool,” says that it aims to support the health of its employees, customers and beautiful open spaces. In late 2016, the company sponsored a research expedition for two Boise State University professors, a volcanologist and a geophysicist. The pair traveled to a glacier-covered volcano in Chile along with a photographer and filmmaker who documented the journey. The company provided the expedition with gear. Brittany Brand, co-author of a 2017 volcanic hazard study featured here, was one of the two professors from Boise State whose research was sponsored by KÜHL. Brand runs the Physical Volcanology group at Boise State University and is interested in volcanic eruption dynamics and hazard assessment. Jeffrey Johnson, the other professor on the expedition, used the opportunity to study the geophysics of volcanic eruptive processes. The team visited one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, the Villarica. Due to glacial ice at the top, lahar events, or debris flows, were triggered during the eruptions of 1964 and 1971. The field data collected by the Boise State team at the Villarica helped the scientists develop experimental models after they returned to the United States. Johnson told GlacierHub that he was happy to accept corporate sponsorship of his environmental research. “Scientific researchers are always grateful for outside support when it is offered.” Matthew Wordell, the photographer for the trip, further explained to GlacierHub that the KÜHL Racr X Full Zip jacket was great help during their trek. They needed lightweight and breathable gear, and the jacket proved to be invaluable. Of course, by wearing the company’s clothing on the expedition, the team of four also promoted the KÜHL brand, as videos and photos from the trip were shared on the company’s blog and Instagram account. “With sponsors on board, it was important to be hyper aware of how the environment and gear interacted to create compelling imagery, often with little more than a few seconds to compose and capture the moment before it was gone,” Wordell explained in a post on the KÜHL website.  A Fuller View of Corporate Social Responsibility Recent articles in the New York Times, The Guardian, and Forbes have highlighted cases in which corporations with poor environmental records use corporate social responsibility programs to promote images of themselves as leaders in environmental protection. But as noted in a study by Graeme Auld and others published in Annual Review of Environment and Resources, some companies do work to promote sustainability well beyond the requirements of environmental regulations, both from personal commitments of their leaders as well as a wish to attract customers who seek green products and services.  So what is KÜHL’s environmental record like outside of this branding program? When questioned about the sponsorship, a marketing representative from KÜHL told GlacierHub that she was contacted directly by the film production crew that documented the trip. Both Johnson and Brand are affiliated with this production crew. KÜHL’s marketing representative was sent a proposal by the crew, and KÜHL...

Read More