Art/Culture

Listening to Glaciers Artfully

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Listening to Glaciers Artfully

Spread the News:ShareJonathan Gilmurray, the author of “Ecological Sound Art,” covers artists who have created works based on the sounds made by melting glaciers. Gilmurray argues that ecological sound art can be effective at motivating people to combat climate change. He also believes that it should be more fully appreciated on its own as a new art form.   Also known as environmentalist sound art, ecological sound art incorporates naturally-occurring sound, with or without modification, and other elements to depict or evoke the environment. It is a form of artwork that draws on a key principle of environmental ethics, the connectedness between humans and the natural environment. Gilmurray believes ecological sound art can be more effective than other forms of ecological art because of sound’s unique ability to reveal relationships that exists between things in the world. The act of listening implies an attentiveness to the natural world, a greater degree of relatedness than might be found in the works of a visual artist who seeks to capture or depict the natural world as an object. Gilmurray explains Ecological Sound Art here:  Ecological sound artists convey ecological messages about the subjects they record by evoking emotions within their listeners through various means. Some, like Chris Watson, use recordings from their fieldwork. His piece Vatnajökull from 2003 is a collage of recordings tracing the journey of 10,000-year-old ice from the Icelandic glacier Vatnajökull. The recordings follow the waters of the glacier as they form from melting ice and flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Listen to a snippet of his work here. In addition to the sound of ice on the move, people who listen to this piece also hear birds calling each other overhead, the creaking of the ship Watson voyaged on, and waves on the Atlantic Ocean. The UK-based audiovisual organization Touch provides the following description of Watson’s piece: “The most eerie aspect of it is the strange ‘singing’ events which occur throughout, especially by the end of the piece when we’re tossing about on the ocean and an unidentifiable spectral singing hovers over the surface of the sea, causing you to believe in sirens.”  Another artist, Jana Winderen, seeks to “reveal the complexity and strangeness of the unseen world beneath.” Some of her art was recorded inside of glacier crevasses in Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. In a statement on her website, she explains, “I like the immateriality of a sound work and the openness it can have for both associative and direct experience and sensory perception.” You can listen to her 2010 piece Energy Field, which incorporates sounds from northern winds, ravens and running dogs.Evaporation by Jana Winderen(Evaporation (2009) by Jana Winderen) Other artists combine their field recordings with digital enhancements for a different effect, which many find to be more musical. Daniel Blinkhorn incorporated crackling sounds from the fjords of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean with electronic static sounds. On his website, he provides samples of the original recording and digitally re-mastered version so that listeners can compare for themselves. To achieve their desired effects, ecological sound artists employ highly sensitive hydrophones (underwater microphones) and vibration sensors. To some listeners, the end result is so pleasing to the ear that they question why more art shows and galleries do not include an auditory component. Gilmurray is working toward addressing that gap. He hopes that ecological sound art will become as recognized as other forms of environmentalist art. Over the years, other ecological sound artists have explored a variety of techniques to evoke a human response to climate change. By creating live recordings, Katie Paterson allowed her audience to dial a...

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Photo Friday: Glacier-Themed Parties

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Glacier-Themed Parties

Spread the News:ShareGlacier-themed parties have been around for a long time, but recently got a boost from the hit Disney movie, Frozen. And in Iceland last year, the first-ever party inside a glacier was thrown during the Secret Solstice festival in Rejkavik. The party was held inside Langjökull glacier, the second largest glacier in Europe. In today’s Photo Friday, we’ll show you some ideas for glacier-themed parties.                 Spread the...

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Photo Friday: Glaciers in Films

Posted by on Apr 21, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Glaciers in Films

Spread the News:ShareMagnificent, beautiful and mysterious, glaciers are a critical part of nature. For thousands years, humans have responded to glaciers through art, incorporating them in paintings, poems, folk songs, and more recently, movies. With the development of modern arts, specifically the film industry, glaciers have popped up in a range of creative endeavors from documentaries to animated pictures. Explore some popular films featuring glaciers with GlacierHub.   Chasing Ice Chasing Ice (2012) is the story of one man’s quest to gather evidence of climate change. A documentary film about environmental photographer James Balog, it tells the story of his trip to the Arctic to capture images to help tell the story of Earth’s changing climate. The film included scenes from a glacier calving event lasting 75 minutes at Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland, the longest calving event ever captured on film. “Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality,” the film introduction states. “It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.”     Ice Age Ice Age (2002) is one of the most popular animations in the world and its sequels have continued to delight thousands of children and adults. First directed by Chris Wedge and produced by Blue Sky Studios, the film is set during the ice age. The characters in the film must migrate due to the coming winters. These animals, including a mammoth family, a sloth Sid, and a saber-tooth tiger Diego, live on glaciers. They find a human baby and set out to return the baby. The animation won positive reviews and awards, making it a successful film about glaciers.       James Bond Jökulsárlón, an unearthly glacial lagoon in Iceland, makes its appearance in several James Bonds films, including A View to Kill (1985) and Die Another Day (2002). A View to Kill, starring Roger Moore, Christopher Walken and Tanya Roberts, was also filmed on location at other glaciers in Iceland, including Vatnajökull Glacier in Vatnajökull, Austurland, Iceland.     China: Between Clouds and Dreams The documentary China: Beyond Clouds and Dreams (2016) is an award-winning new series by Director Phil Agland. The five-part series tells intimate human stories of China’s relationship with nature and the environment as the country grapples with the reality of global warming and ecological collapse. See the trailer here. Commissioned by China Central Television and filmed over three years, the film includes a scene of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, where the impacts of climate change are most obvious.         Spread the...

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Photo Friday: Edward Theodore Compton’s Artwork

Posted by on Apr 14, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Edward Theodore Compton’s Artwork

Spread the News:ShareEdward Theodore Compton, usually referred to as E.T. Compton, was a German painter, illustrator and mountain climber who lived from 1849-1921. He is best known for his paintings and drawings of alpine scenery, many of which also contain glaciers.  Born in London, Compton’s family moved to Darmstadt, Germany, in 1867, for him to continue his education. He was also a skilled mountaineer, making 300 major ascents during his lifetime, mostly within Europe. For example, he made the first documented ascents of 27 mountains, including Torre di Brenta in the Italian Alps and Grossglockner in Austria, which he climbed at the age of 70! Apart from oil and watercolor paintings, Compton also produced numerous illustrations of alpine scenery. Many of his works help to document the days of early alpinism, showing what mountains and glaciers looked like in the past.                You can check out more of Compton’s paintings and illustrations, or take a look at other glacier artwork here. Spread the...

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Tribal House in Glacier Bay Park Recognizes Huna Tlingit

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Tribal House in Glacier Bay Park Recognizes Huna Tlingit

Spread the News:ShareA newly constructed tribal house within Glacier Bay National Park in the Southeast Alaskan panhandle begins a fresh chapter in the contentious relationship between the Huna Tlingit, a Native American tribe, and the National Park Service (NPS). For much of the 20th century, the NPS infringed on Huna hunting rights and appropriated the majority of Huna land to create a monument, and later a National Park and Preserve over 5,000 square miles in area.  The recently opened 28,000 square foot tribal house coincides with the NPS’s 100th anniversary and will serve as a gathering center for the Huna, displaying artwork and cedar carvings, while also informing some of Glacier Bay’s 500,000 yearly visitors about the Huna’s rich culture.  The house sits on the Huna’s ancestral homelands in Bartlett Cove, originally known in the endangered Huna language as L’eiwshaa Shakee Aan, which translates to “Town on Top of the Sand Hill.” It will memorialize the lost clan houses which used to dot the coast but were destroyed by the rapidly advancing Grand Pacific Glacier in the 1700s. The glacier cleared the land, including wildlife like salmon found in the streams, and destroyed Huna villages. But beginning in the 1800s, the glacier began to recede, leaving 100 miles of destruction in its wake. By the 1830s, the wildlife returned, along with the Huna, who set up seasonal camps where they fished, hunted and collected gull eggs and berries. The new tribal house will be the first permanent house since the glacier drove the Huna away to their current village, Hoonah, 30 miles south, where over 800 of them dwell. Remnants of tribal dwellings and other evidence of the Huna’s presence can still be found in the park. For example, cairns are memorials or landmarks made of mounds of stones marking the highlands used to retreat from floods associated with environmental change. In addition, archaeologists have discovered old smokehouses, house pits, and culturally modified trees stripped of bark, which may have been used for markers, baskets, pitch or shelter. Around the time the Huna returned to Glacier Bay, Westerners also arrived. Captain George Vancouver, an English Naval Officer, surveyed the area in 1794, and John Muir, often referred to as the “Father of the National Parks,” visited between 1879 and 1899. Muir is sometimes credited with the discovery of Glacier Bay, although he relied on Tlingit guides to get there. The area was proclaimed a national monument in 1925, a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, and finally, a national park in 1980. When the monument decree was passed under President Calvin Coolidge, the Huna Tlingit were not consulted, leading to anger among tribal members, and in addition many tribe members did not speak English. The NPS increasingly infringed on the Huna’s hunting rights, first limiting firearms to protect brown bears in the 1930s, and then ten years later outlawing all hunting and trapping except for seals, which the Park Service later banned in 1976.   In 1992, a Huna hunter in the Park was ordered to appear before a federal magistrate in Juneau for shooting a seal that was going to be used in a potlatch, or ceremonial feast, and his gun was confiscated. Around the same time, the Park Service began considering phasing out commercial fishing which prompted peaceful protests on the shores of Bartlett Cove by the Huna. Speeches were given by elders about Huna history and the importance of subsistence. Following the protests, constructive talks began, and in 1997, the idea for a tribal house was accepted by the Park Service. However, limited funding slowed the tribal...

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OMG: An Artist Flew over the Greenland Icesheet

Posted by on Apr 6, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, News | 1 comment

OMG: An Artist Flew over the Greenland Icesheet

Spread the News:ShareIn a recent article in Nature Climate Change, Sonja van Renssen describes various mediums through which visual artists and musicians represent climate change. She argues that illustrating climate change through art can ground it in our culture and open up new dialogues. She offers several examples, including Justin Brice Guariglia, who recently became the first artist in history to be involved in a NASA mission. He is in the midst of a five-year commitment to join NASA flights over Greenland from 2015 to 2020 in order to visually document changing climate. Guariglia’s work is inspired by scientific data, but it is not featured directly in his art. His prints focus on the connection between humans and nature during the Anthropocene, the current geologic age of the Earth. As Renssen explains in her paper, the Anthropocene is the time period when “human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” Guariglia’s enormous pieces dwarf the viewer. Jakobshavn I, a recent project, is an acrylic print on polystyrene that represents a glacier in Greenland. He prints his large-scale photographs on durable materials. Guariglia’s hope is that while the glaciers themselves may not last, his art will endure, according to Renssen. Guariglia is a member of the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project, which researches the effects of ocean warming on Greenland’s glaciers. The project takes high resolution elevation measurements of these glaciers each year during the spring to measure annual glacier retreat. In addition, a second mission takes place each summer, during which 250 temperature and salinity probes measure the temperature and salinity of water in the Atlantic Ocean. These combined datasets will improve modeling of sea and ice interactions, helping to improve estimates of the contribution of Greenland’s ice to global sea level rise. In an interview with GlacierHub, Josh Willis, the principal investigator for the OMG NASA mission, explained that he is “excited by the collaboration with Justin because it means we might be able to connect with people who have a hard time relating climate change to their own daily lives. That’s important to me because climate change is a big deal, and I think we’ve been slow to accept it.” Other scientific organizations like the National Science Foundation agree with NASA’s investment in blending climate change and art. The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program sponsors individuals in the humanities, including painters and photographers, to be inspired by and help document the heritage in Antarctica. The trend in using art to portray the detrimental effects of climate change could be a creative alternative to communicating environmental risks. For example, alumni and faculty from the University of Miami recently used film, photography, and land art to illustrate climate change issues. Like Guariglia and Willis, this intersection of science and art could be uniquely effective in communicating these risks. Spread the...

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