By Anna Reser
A recently published literature review by climate and glaciology historian Mark Carey has excited controversy about what constitutes as science. “Glaciers, gender and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research,” (Progress in Human Geography, vol 1, no. 24, 2016) was published in a paywalled journal, but as soon as it appeared on Fox News as an example of the “questionable” work being done with taxpayer funded NSF grants, Carey and his coauthors found themselves at the center of a storm of criticism.
A major criticism was Carey’s inclusion of visual art that explores climate change and the nature of glaciers and ice from an emotional or affective perspective.
Whatever Carey’s critics have argued about the validity of such approaches, SciArt readers will appreciate the efforts of a few of the artists, rounded up here, to explore notions of environmental change, record keeping practices, and the human relationship with the natural world.
The artist recorded the sounds made by three glaciers in Iceland and created LP records from the actual ice of the glacier. The records are then played until the ice melts and the records deteriorate.
Burko’s paintings of glaciers, combined with timestamps and flow markings, mash up artistic and scientific representation. Burko’s painterly style resists the hard edges of measurement and quantification, proposing alternative strategies for our understanding of the ice.
These large-scale drawings of ice, produced from a research trip to Antarctica, envelop the viewer and situate them inside the ice in a way that only a select few researchers and explorers have experienced. The distance between people and the ice, the crux of many climate change discourses, is diminished in these drawings.
Seaman’s photographs also seek to close the distance between the viewer and the ice, but they also include images of human agency. Researchers crossing iceberg strewn waters in zodiacs and cruise ships ferrying tourists across Svalbard are reminders that the ice exists in our world and is always subject to human intervention.