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 We have this profound historical document, and the longer we keep the record going the more potent it is."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.