Artists Get Inspired by Seeing Climate Change in the Arctic Up Close

climate change art
Map of the Route they followed

Here’s a group to get behind. Based in the UK, the group Cape Farewell pioneers the cultural response to climate change. Cape Farewell brings artists, scientists and communicators together from around the world to stimulate the production of art founded in scientific research. Cape Farewell asks the best of our creative minds to respond to this challenge and to build a vision for a sustainable future.

From their website:

Since 2003 Cape Farewell has led eight expeditions to the Arctic, and one to the Peruvian Andes, taking artists, scientists, educators and communicators to experience the effects of climate change firsthand. By physically sailing to the heart of the debate, Cape Farewell aims to draw people’s attention to the effects of ocean currents on us and our climate – revealing the workings of this crucial part of the planet through scientific experiments, film, live web broadcasts, events, exhibitions and the insight of artists and educators. From these expeditions has sprung an incredible body of artworks, exhibitions, publications and educational resources. Each journey is a catalyst for all our subsequent activity.

In September 2010 Cape Farewell began its 9th Art & Science expedition to the Arctic. For 22 days the crew of 20 voyagers sailed around Svalbard and Spitsbergen on the Noorderlicht (an 100 year old ship), sailing north of the 80th parallel to the ice edge from Spitsbergen and east towards Russia.

5 marine scientists and 10 artists from around the world – writers, musicians, visual artists, directors and architects – sailed from Longyearbyen around the north-east coast of Spitsbergen in the Norwegian Arctic to encounter the magnificence of this extreme and threatened environment and engage with the scientific research being conducted on board.

The September 2010 crew included:

  • Paul Miller AKA DJ Spooky (musician, DJ & writer, USA)
  • Deborah Warner (theatre & opera director, UK)
  • Nick Drake (poet, novelist & playwright, UK)
  • Matthew Clark (digital artist/ Creative Director of UVA, UK)
  • Ruth Little (dramaturg & writer, UK)
  • Mikhail Durnenkov (playwright, Russia)
  • Cynthia Hopkins (performance & music artist, USA)
  • Leonid Tishkov (visual artist, Russia)
  • Iris Haeussler (visual artist, Canada)
  • Marina Moskvina (novelist, Russia)
  • Beth Kapusta (writer & architecture critic, Canada)
  • Daria Parkhomenko (Director of Laboratoria Art & Science Space, Russia)
  • Kevin Buckland (Arts Ambassador/, Spain)
  • Bob Davies (architect, Canada)
  • David Buckland (artist, Cape Farewell expedition leader) and others

From their website again:

Based on UVA Creative Director Matt Clark’s experience of our 2010 Art & Science Expedition to Svalbard, United Visual Artists bring their installation High Arctic to the brand new Sammy Ofer wing of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich from 14 July 2011 to 13 January 2012.

Conceived as a response to the expedition, High Arctic uses a combination of sound, light and sculptural forms to create an abstracted Arctic landscape for visitors to explore. Created as a monument to the Arctic past, set 100 years into the future, the installation conveys the scale, beauty and fragility of the Arctic and invites us to reflect on our own relationship with the environment.

It’s through actions like these that we can spread the word about climate change and promote the idea that we need everybody to do their part in the fight for a cleaner, more sustainable world. Great work by the organizers there.

See artists bio’s, and more information about the journey on their blog.

Image Credit: Cape Farewell


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