All this snowy weather seems apt after my previous entires! Perfect weather to snuggle in with a good book or two. I have particuarly enjoyed reading Ice by Glillian Clarke, (Published by Carcanet 2012) A book of poems about winter, ice, the past and present. She evokes landscapes that are both wild and sensuous. Many lines are just simply beautiful for example "as if her broken words were scattered stones..." and "trees stand in their bones asleep in the creak of a wind with snow on it's mind".
I particualy enjoyed her opening poem Polar
Snowlight and sunlight, the lake glacial,
Too bright to open my eyes
in the dazzle and doze
of a distant January afternoon.
It's long ago and the house naps in the plush silence
of a house asleep, like absence,
I'm dreaming on the white bears shoulder,
paddling the slow hours, my fingers in his fur.
His eyes are glass, each hair a needle of light,
He's pegged by his claws to the floor like a shirt on the line.
He is a soul. He is what death is. He is transparency,
a loosening floe on the sea.
But I want him alive.
I want him fierce
with belly and breath and growl and beating heart,
I want him dangerous.
I want to follow himover the snows
between the immaculate earth and now,
between the silence and the shot that rang
over the ice at the top of the globe,
when the map of the earth was something we knew by heart,
and they had not shot the bear,
had not loosed the ice,
had not, had not.
I am presently enjoying making marks in response to reading about glaciers,
Al Gore, An Inconevient Truth,
The Planetry Emergancy of Global Warming, and what we can do about it.
I found this book thought provoking, and very engaging. The presentation is very good with plenty of clear descriptions and illustrations which add weight to what he is saying. Gore writes from both an informative and personal view, and his passion about what is happening regarding climate change comes across as very genuine.
He states "in every corner of the globe, on land and in water, in melting ice and disappearing snow, during heatwaves and droughts, in the eyes of hurricanes and in the tears of refugees, the world is witnessing mounting and undeniable evidence that nature's cycles are profoundly changing".
I particuarly liked his quote by Martin Luther King Jnr, - "We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now, in this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare naked and dejected with lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood - it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words 'Too late'."
As relevant now as when first spoken in the sixties. So often the situation appears to be overwhelming, leaving the questioning 'What differance can I make?' However I finished the book with a sense of energy and optimism. As Gore states " it is worth preserving and doing what you can however small it may seem ...I want to convey my strong feeling that what we are facing is not just a cause for alarm, it is paradoxically a cause for hope"
Momentum is gathering, attitudes and perceptions are changing, new technologies are available and continue to be developed. We can all do something. A book to be recomended!
Chasing Ice, James Balogs film about what is happening to the world's glaciers, was released just prior to Christmas and can now be seen in various venues around the country. The Extreme Ice survey started in 2005, when he started to place time lapse cameras on the glaciers. He was both shocked and surprised by what the cameras were recording. He has continued with the project beyond the original brief. This film captures stunning footage of these wild places, and has received critical acclaim.
In an article in the Telegraph on 10th December Jessamy Calkin writes 'Balog knew there was a photographic story to be done on climate change. Balog states "But I couldn't think of what to do with ice that would be interesting. A photo of a glacier shot at dawn or sunset with rosy light conforms to all the basic notions of pretty pictures, but there is nothing in them that says anything about the change in the atmosphere, nothing that radically illuminates the transitory nature of ice in response to the climate." '
Until that is, he got the call from the New Yorker, and studied the glacier in Iceland. "All of a sudden I was at the boundary of humans and nature again - I was at the place where the glacier was coming to an end. It was sculptural and really evocative; I could see shapes that suggested death, atrophy and decay, shapes evoking mortality and transience, - I knew I could make pictures that are interesting and provocative"
Balog is not finished yet. "The ice goes on for ever, he says - or perhaps not. We still have 34 cameras at 16 locations: we had as many as 48 cameras at one time. The project was intended to last three years, but I don't think we can stop now. We have this profound historical document, and the longer we keep the record going the more potent it is."
In an interview with Alex Blackbourne (see Blueandgreen.com), Balogs states "the film combines art and science. It takes our visuals and puts it together with the scientific knowledge base and context so that by the end of it, you understand through art and science, that this thing (climate change) is real, happening and accelerated by humans."
"I am worried we might be doing to little to late, but for the sake of my sanity, I can't go there. I have to believe that there is still time. We are clearly in the middle of a crisis already. We are not looking at the crisis coming at us from the future: the crisis is upon us. One of the reasons I am optimistic is because I'm absolutely certain, based on all the infomation I've been assimilating over the past six years, that we have the economic and technological solutions to this problem. We also have the policy solutions to this problem. What we have been lacking is political willpower which is a question of human perception. Human perception has been changing and now it's incumbent on all of us to push hard on those political policy makers to get their act together and do what needs to be done."
Balog encourages us to use our voices to tell the story. "This is the memory of the landscape, a powerful peice of history is unfolding"
We have a chance to see the film, lets not miss it !
I am also part of Bookscapes Collective.
Bookscapes is a group of six artists that have developed a group practice specialising in site specific interventions and exhibitions.