Freeze-thaw

M. D. Acuff (Washington, USA) / Anna M. Clark (New Hampshire, USA) / Rachael Dease (Perth, Australia) / Brandy Leary (Toronto, Canada) / Justin Levesque (Maine, USA) / Cara Levine (Los Angeles, USA)  

June 16 - July 22

Artist's reception is on Thursday, June 21st, 5-8pm. Summer solstice.  

Freeze-thaw: 
Field Research + Works from the Arctic Circle

Each of the listed artists were fellows in The Arctic Circle’s Summer Solstice expedition in June 2017. The Arctic Circle residency program brings together international artists of all disciplines, scientists, architects, and educators who collectively explore remote and fascinating destinations aboard an ice-class Tall Ship (S/V Antigua). The residency takes place in the international territory of Svalbard, a mountainous Arctic archipelago just ten degrees from the North Pole.

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“There is a growing discrepancy between the increasing scientific certainty about anthropogenic interference with the climate system and a decreasing concern and popular support for ambitious and effective climate policies… A number of tentative explanations of the climate paradox have been proposed, including:

climate change perceived as distant in both time and space,
the lack of a global treaty and political action,
the quest for economic growth,
the financial crisis,
the complexity of the problem leading to numbing and helplessness,
cultural filters,
cognitive dissonance,
limited individual responsibility,
an active counter-campaign
and denial as a fear-avoidance strategy.

The default response from many climate scientists and policymakers to what they perceive as a lack of the public to respond adequately to “facts” has been to increase the volume and amount of information. This approach to climate science communication has failed…”

-Per Espen Stoknes
Rethinking climate communications and the “psychological climate paradox”

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Stoknes offers the use of stories and narratives as one possible antidote to the psychological barriers that inhibit individual action in response to climate change.

First we ask: What can these new stories look like? What imaginaries are possible under the Anthropocene? What ways of representing the Arctic run the risk of perpetrating further paradox? How can we manifest a troubled relationship to images and objects? How might new technologies help or hinder the realness of a remote place or a distant time?

And further: How can we endure an encounter with catastrophic loss by allowing ourselves to sense it? How does the body filter, respond to or contain this grief? Is there resilience in the process of grieving when the land itself must be mourned? Can data be used to measure how we mourn for the disappearing Arctic? How does one ask for consent from the Arctic?

In response to these questions, Freeze-thaw presents works in the form of video, photography, sculpture, sound, VR, and performance. 

Artist Bios

M. D. Acuff:
Acuff sees art making as a strategy for materializing knowledge, a way of constructing meaning from the world. Their recent work speaks to the tangled web of relations—aesthetic, ecological, and material—that define the period in human/geologic history now known as the Anthropocene. Acuff uses images and object to frame the fantasy, nostalgia and denial that characterize this precarious, human-driven, relationship to the planet and its inhabitants.  

Anna M. Clark:
Anna M. Clark is a Brooklyn-based artist and writer originally from Portsmouth, NH. She is the co-founder of Montez Press, a publishing company that publishes texts which strive to write against current critical modalities and theoretical dogmas. She holds an MA in Food Studies from NYU, a BA in Fine Art from the University of Montana, and studied Creative Writing at CalArts. Through the gathering of evidence in the form of found material, video, drawings, and text, Anna creates various surfaces which captures elusive features of the intimate, the intuitive and the subjective. At this time, she works most with sound, text and performance.

Rachael Dease:
Dease is a composer and sound artist who has an interdisciplinary approach, often using installation, film or theatre to present her work. Her primary focus and research for the past several years has been twofold – Exploring how humans relate to death, it’s ritual and the grief process surrounding; and the ever-evolving world of space exploration - using data and technology from various agencies to create scores and soundscapes on which to base new work.
 
Brandy Leary:
Leary is a performance artist, dancer and acrobat whose work is concerned with entanglements of bodies and landscapes. In following this thread through her past work into future choreography, she links climate disruption, processes of colonial contact/settlement, the evolution of capitalism as the dominant economic system, the attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples and our current dependency on extraction practices, as inter-related actions that have re-shaped our landscape, bodies and climate patterns.

Justin Levesque:
Levesque approaches his interdisciplinary practice with a consideration for the materiality and tradition of formal photography and its relationship to new consumer technologies, image-culture, objects in space, and systems. His work for Freeze-thaw is provided by several components from a connected network of distinct but related projects made in response to Arctic image consumption, data as the new divine, spatial simulacrum, and corporeal denial.

Cara Levine:
Levine explores the intersections of the physical, metaphysical, traumatic and illusionary through sculpture, video, photography, and socially engaged practice. Her work centers around the idea that the Arctic Landscape cannot be captured through language. While on the Antigua, she repeatedly inserted herself in the landscape in attempt to create language over the landscape. What resulted was a cacophony of images, still and moving, that fail to articulate the indescribable nature that is the “Arctic Landscape.” In further response to this failed attempt, she has written an essay around land-use and consent to be included in the exhibitions related print collateral. Levine wonders: how can artists approach this place and do it justice in their representation?


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