MELTDOWN Visualizing Climate Change by Project Pressure
The Horniman Museum in London is hosting “MELTDOWN: Visualizing the Climate Crisis” by Project Pressure, an exhibition which emphasizes the importance of glaciers in a scientific, illustrative and dramatic way.” The show features work from every relevant continent, leading the viewer on a journey in three chapters––The Importance of Glaciers, Current Issues and Meltdown Consequences.”
“Since 2008 the climate change charity Project Pressure has been commissioning world-renowned artists to conduct expeditions to document changes to the world’s vanishing glaciers, the consequences for billions of people, and efforts made to limit melting.” The exhibition runs from 23 November 2019 until 12 January 2020.
Food Web Complexity of High Mountain Lakes is Largely Affected by Glacial Retreat
From the abstract: “High mountain lakes provide essential ecosystem services and have a high conservation value. Therefore, understanding how glacier retreat will affect their ecological functioning and water quality is crucial. Here, we tested how shallow high mountain lakes having different glacial influences differ in their abiotic main features and food web structure using a multiple ecological indicator approach.”
Melting Swiss Glaciers to Fuel Conflicts Over Water
“Switzerland is set to lose an important water reservoir as the glaciers continue to melt, affecting not only the agricultural sector and hydropower production, but also transport on Europe’s main waterways.”
Read the comprehensive story of Swiss glaciers on SwissInfo.ch here.
Project Pressure, a charity founded in 2008, seeks to provoke action to confront climate change by organizing exhibitions that combine photography and science, specifically focused on the world’s glaciers.
The group’s latest installation of artwork is titled “Meltdown. A Visualization of Climate Change by Project Pressure” and is on display until September 1st at the Natural History Museum, Vienna. The exhibit features projects by renowned artists, such as architecture and landscape photographer Simon Norfolk, who have traveled around the world to photograph some of the planet’s most vulnerable environments and landscapes. The artists worked with scientists from a wide array of backgrounds to ensure accuracy.
Glaciers retreat and glacier mass loss is a readily apparent symptom of the impacts of climate change. Mass loss from glaciers, unlike other weather and climate events, can be directly attributed to warming. All around the world, glaciers are visibly shrinking, prompting local residents, elected officials, academics, prominent cultural figures, and climate activists to raise the alarm about the rapidly deteriorating state of the world’s glaciers.
The exhibition is divided into three sections, the first of which is titled “The Importance of Glaciers,” which includes work from artist Peter Funch, a Danish photographer who captures landscapes, people, and portraits . Funch uses postcards of images of glaciers in America to portray recession over the years, giving the effect of old photographs by using RGB tricolor separation, a technique invented in the 19th century.
Various urgent subjects are explored in the second section of the exhibition, “Current Issues.”This includes the impacts of climate change and glacier loss on populations, such as the over one billion people dependent on the Himalayas for water.
The final section of the exhibit, “Meltdown Consequences,” surprises audience with peculiar examples of the impacts of climate change. This section includes work by artists Norfolk + Thymann, picturing part of the Rhone glacier in Switzerland covered by geo-thermal cloth to prevent further melting. This striking image reflects the desperate attempt by local people in trying to conserve the critical water resources that glaciers provide and that they heavily depend on.
Project Pressure artist Toby Smith is an environmental photographer whose project “Heavens and Earth on Aragat” is currently being exhibited as part of Meltdown. Smith told GlacierHub about the project and shared his experience during his time on Mount Aragats, the highest point in Armenia. The glacier feeds into a network of tributaries, providing water to surrounding provinces.
Smith said that initial research conducted for the project showed Mount Aragat was under major threat from climate change, experiencing dwindling ice cover and rapid decrease in glacial surface area over time. “The glacial cover has been disappearing on account of the insufficient snowfall, changes in rainfall patterns, and critically an increase in annual mean air temperatures,” he said.
One of Smith’s main goals was to understand the different human relations with glacier flow. He was able to connect with people from remote villages across provinces and learn how changes on the mountain affected their lives. Unfortunately this change in hydrology has negatively impacted the livelihoods and economies of these local communities. Although the primary focus is to document landscapes, Smith said he deliberately focused on also exhibiting a strong human and cultural presence on the mountain.
Fiona Bunn, a British and Swiss alpine photographer, commented on the power of photography and visual artwork to raise awareness on important issues regarding climate change.
“For the past 5 years I have felt the increasing significance of communicating through visual arts the changes I have seen, and the positive impact it can have on awareness of climate change” she said. Bunn added that the role of an artist in this field involves documenting changes, celebrating the beauty of the natural environment, and creating community by sharing with the world nature through art.
“The success of “Meltdown” is in finding a public platform for sharing this important issue”.
The Meltdown exhibition is on display at the Natural History Museum, Vienna until September 1, 2019. Like the glaciers, see it before it’s too late.
“MELTDOWN” A Traveling Art Exhibition by Project Pressure
This summer catch the art exhibition “MELTDOWN” a visualization of climate change by world-renowned artists commissioned by Project Pressure, at the Natural History Museum, Vienna June 4 – September 8, 2019.
“Project Pressure uses art as a positive touch point to inspire engagement and behavioural change. The selected artworks in MELTDOWN relate to vanishing glaciers, to demonstrate the impact of climate change through various media. Unlike wildfires, flooding and other weather events, glacier mass loss can be 100% attributed to global temperature changes and as such, they are key indicators of climate change. The exhibition is a narrative of the importance of glaciers told in a scientific, illustrative and poetic way and each artist has a unique take on the subject. MELTDOWN shows scale from the planetary level to microscopic biological impact, and considers humanitarian suffering and more. Together the artistic interpretations in MELTDOWN give visitors unique insights into the world’s cryosphere, its fragile ecosystem and our changing global climate.”
Switzerland Is Making the Most of its Melting Glaciers
A recent New York Times interactive “Where Glaciers Melt Away, Switzerland Sees Opportunity,” takes readers to the Swiss Alps for a visually stimulating tour of the country’s innovations around glacier melt, from footbridges spanning glacial valleys to hydropower innovations.
The Tibetan Snowcock Is Caught On Camera
A study on the little-known high-altitude bird in the pheasant family, the Tibetan Snowcock. The study uses reports on images from camera traps to describe its behavior. It also describes the bird’s preference for higher elevation, living close to glaciers and the snow line.
“Global climate change has had significant effects on animal distribution and population dynamics in mid-latitude alpine areas, but we know little about the basic ecology of high-altitude species due to the difficulties of conducting field research in the harsh climate and habitat present at high elevations. The Tibetan Snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus) is a little-known phasianid distributing in alpine areas at extremely high elevations in the mountains surrounding the Tibetan Plateau. Estimating the species occupancy rate and discussing the factors affecting its distribution based on infrared-triggered camera techniques would provide both a baseline to measure the influence of global warming and valuable information on its conservation and ecology.”
Klaus Thymann, an environmental scientist and a photographer, married two interests to make an impact on the world as the founder of Project Pressure, an English charity organization that spotlights the world’s vanishing glaciers through poignant photographs and videos. As the organization’s director, Thymann works in collaboration with other artists to depict firsthand the environmental impact of climate change. This month, Project Pressure’s latest collaboration is a traveling exhibition, “When Records Melt,” which will make its debut in the Netherlands at Unseen Amsterdam, an international photography fair held annually at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.
Unseen Amsterdam, now in its seventh year, draws attention to the changing medium of photography and highlights the work of new and emerging artists. “When Records Melt” is Project Pressure’s latest photographic exploration of the cryosphere, which will include photographs of the Antarctic Peninsular and the Rhône glacier in Switzerland, captured as part of the expedition project, “Shroud,” which Thymann was personally involved in.
In an interview with GlacierHub, Thymann described his latest work on “Shroud” at Rhône Glacier. “It deals with adaptation rather than mitigation. We are past the point where we can mitigate climate change. We will still have to try to limit carbon emissions, but we need to deal with the consequences,” he said.
“Shroud” explores how forced adaptation is happening at Rhône Glacier, where locals turn a profit from tourists who come to see an ice grotto carved into the glacier. One featured image from the exhibition shows the Rhône glacier shrouded in thermal blankets by a small business to prevent the glacier from further melting and to preserve the glacier as a tourist attraction.
“It is absurd and I guess that is part of the point. It should also be a call to action,” Thymann said. A review in Next Nature describes how the glacier has become a commodity, noting that the result is “a surreal, nearly abstract image of a landscape that once was natural.”
Although Thymann has not discussed the main messages of “Shroud” in detail with the contributing photographer on the project, Simon Norfolk, he says their main hope is for people to be surprised and intrigued by the images.
“Generally, I hope to raise questions rather than anything else,” Thymann told GlacierHub.
Apart from working on photographic exhibitions, Project Pressure also works hand-in-hand with the scientific community to pioneer new technological developments in the field of glacier monitoring. It is recognized as an official contributor to the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers, for example, and is a partner of the World Glacier Monitoring Service and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
GlacierHub has also previously featured Thymann’s work on MELT, an open source digital atlas that allows the public to visually tour the world’s receding glaciers to better understand the ongoing impact of rising global temperatures.
When asked about the inspiration behind his work, Thymann said he reads widely on contemporary issues as well as science. More importantly, when he is out in the field, he says he looks for the stories behind the pictures that are waiting to be told.
“For me capturing images is not relevant, storytelling is,” Thymann explained.
For Thymann, the greatest success of Project Pressure is seeing how the artists he has collaborated with engage with the subject matter of glaciers and climate change through their journey of creating art.
“I think all combined, the works are very strong and offer a real unique platform, and that makes me proud,” Thymann said.
On display in Amsterdam from September 21 to 23, this exhibition is not to be missed by glacier lovers. To support Project Pressure in their continued work, you may also donate at project-pressure.org.
Imagine if we had a crowd-sourced digital record of the damage climate change is causing to our planet. That’s the mission of Project Pressure, an UK-based organization dedicated to documenting and publicizing the world’s vanishing glaciers. With MELT, an open source digital atlas, Project Pressure hopes to give the public a new tool to visually tour the world’s receding glaciers, helping us all to better understand the ongoing impact of rising global temperatures.
Rather than relying on satellite images and direct measurement, two techniques that have their limits, Project Pressure hopes to document glacier fluctuations of the world’s 300,000 glaciers through comparative imagery. This will allow researchers to analyze glaciers otherwise inaccessible for direct measurement and provide new visual insights to changes in glacier length. The images are both heartbreaking and alarming, demonstrating both the staggering beauty of our world glaciers and their current state of decline.
Take a look at GlacierHub’s collection of images from Project Pressure, and learn more about the initiative here.
In northern Germany a small open-air art exhibition, Outdoors Installation, is showcasing the work of six photographers who capture the dramatic changes glacial ice has undergone in the last hundred years across the world. In alliance with the glacier focused charity, documentary and climate change advocacy group, Project Pressure, the diverse artists are working collectively to spread awareness of climate change though their powerful images.
The 14 images displayed at the environmental education park, Schleimünde Pilot Island, are only a small sample of the Project Pressure artists’ work. The exhibit, which opened July 16 and will close in September, is a precursor to a larger touring exhibition which will launch next year.
Outdoors Installation was brought to the public with support from the German environmental non-profit group, The Lighthouse Foundation, who purchased the island from the German government in 2008.
The founder of Project Pressure, Klaus Thymann, said that he believes visual art depicting retreating glaciers can be a powerful tool to increase awareness of climate change, forging a way through the complex science that isolates the average person.
“Art energizes, it’s a positive touch point, it can spread interest. A lot of people find science difficult, inaccessible and complicated so they do not engage with it,” Thymann said in a Skype interview with GlacierHub. “If we can use art to get people to engage with scientific issues, we are at least some of the way there to dealing with the underlying issues [of climate change].”
Thymann, born in Denmark, is one of the six photographers featured at the Outdoors Installation. The other artists include an American fisherman, Corey Arnold, as well as Scott Conarroe, a Canadian whose landscape photography extends to depict industrial works, and Peter Funch, a Danish photographer who has photographed series on human relations and cities. Rounding out the lineup is Mariele Neudecker, a UK-based German artist who works in a variety of mediums and the Nigerian-native Simon Norfolk, who has photographed the war in Afghanistan. Though each artist has a distinctive approach, they all show the intensity and the bleakness of melting glaciers.
One of Thymann’s displays, a juxtaposition of two aerial photographs of Helheim and Fenris Glaciers in Greenland from 1933, and again a starker picture taken in 2012, has a complicated political backstory.
In the first half of the twentieth century, Norway and Denmark were in a dispute over sovereignty of a remote section of eastern Greenland. In hopes to substantiate its claim, Denmark set forth expeditions to survey the unknown region. In 1933, a series of aerial photographs of Greenland’s coasts, thus its coastal glaciers, were taken by Danish explorer Keld Milthers. The photos were eventually archived in Copenhagen, forgotten, and later rediscovered by Kurt Kjær of the Statens Naturhistoriske Museum in 2009.
On a trip in 2012, Thymann then took aerial photographs of the same glaciers once documented years past. The two contrasting shots of the same Greenland glaciers show clear evidence of the ice mass receding over seventy years.
Comparing an old photograph with a new one is not the only way Project Pressure artists capture the climate-induced changes to glaciers.
Another artist traveled to a glacier and set up a line of fires to mark its former extent. Conarroe, another photographer featured in the exhibit, said “I think Simon Norfolk’s work from the Lewis Glacieris useful and fascinating. Living in Canada and Switzerland, African glaciers are not so on my radar…. The fire+ice contrast… [is] an efficient indication of how much the glacier has retreated,” when he was asked what other artist featured at the Outdoors Installation struck him the most.
From her studio in Bristol, United Kingdom, German born featured artist, Mariele Neudecker, spoke of how it is important to reflect “reality” in art.
“I think it is important to make work about the world we live in, and our perceptions of the multi-faceted reality around us,” Neudecker explained in an email correspondence with GlacierHub. Neudecker immerses viewers into the world of glaciers through 3D imagery. She captured the two images displayed at the Outdoor Installation using a stereo camera, according to Neudecker.
When viewed with the naked eye each image appears as a mix of red and blue, but when the work is taken in through 3D glasses or a stereoscope, the viewer is forced out of the two dimensional world of conventional photography.
Thymann told GlacierHub that artists are still planning expeditions into the field to gather additional captivating subject matter. He hopes to reveal those and many more pieces of glacier art at the traveling exhibit Project Pressure aims to bring to the public.
The title of the work translates to the word border in French, Italian and German. Conarro’s photographic study of the glaciers was inspired by the shifting borders between European countries that were drawn based on glacier boundaries. Global warming has caused retreat of the glaciers and melting of permafrost, which has lead to collapse of the ground below and a shifting of the mountain surfaces and their historic borders.
The exhibit is a part of Project Pressure, a charity documenting the world’s vanishing glaciers. See more of Conarroe’s photographs here.
From Fine Art Lugano:
“Photographica FineArt is proud to present, together with the Alpine glaciers’ photographs by Vittorio Sella (1859 – 1943), the latest work by the Canadian photographer Scott Conarroe (1974) that was inspired by the continuous movement of boundaries along the Alps due to the glacial melting and watershed drift.”
Project Pressure is a glacier photography project that has been documenting glaciers and partnering with photographers since 2008. Last year, photographers Mariele Neudecker and Klaus Thymann journeyed to southwest Greenland for the project. The team traveled by boat from the settlement of Narsarsuaq around a peninsula to Quoroc Bay. The purpose was to record the place where the glaciers extend to the Denmark Strait, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. Such glaciers are referred to as tidewater glaciers. The team also captured images of striking intersections between land and the Eqalorutsit Glacier. In one image, a red “path” consisting of blueberry bushes leads to the glacier. Another image shows how sunlight marks a contrast on the glacier surface. More images from the recent trip and other Project Pressure journeys can be found on the group’s Instagram page.
Neudecker wrote via email, “The most challenging part was walking and clambering in rough terrain endlessly and relentlessly in the thickest fog, where quite often we lost contact between the three of us. The fog seemed to subsume sound, space and time.” The artists relied completely on compass and GPS to get to shelter and safety from freezing overnight temperatures. They stayed in a remote hut in the area. The photos part of an exhibition opening today and running through April at the Zeppelin Museum in Germany.
Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago tucked in between Norway and the North Pole. Especially known for its views of the Northern Lights and its summer “midnight sun,” in which sunlight graces the archipelago 24 hours a day, Svalbard is also known for its glaciers, which cover around 60 percent of Svalbard’s land area.
Project Pressure, a charity documenting the world’s vanishing glaciers, posted incredible photos of Southern Svalbard’s glaciers. Project Pressure hosts a wide collection of incredible, free-to-use images, so be sure to check out their website here.
Many thanks to Chris Arnold, the photographer of these photos. Check out his website here.