First, let me extend my sympathies to anyone who has been affected by the recent hurricane. I was fortunately not affected in major ways, but all of us in the New York City area and in many parts of the Northeast have been affected one way or another.
As we continue to adjust and experience ever shifting more intense weather patterns, I am reminded of the tenor in the air as I packed for the Arctic expedition. News was rampant about the melting of the Greenlandic Ice Sheet. I left New York’s JFK airport with great anticipation and fear for what we might come across once we got to Greenland.
Upon my arrival I found an Arctic that was unusually warm and almost balmy. There were days that I stripped down to a t-shirt during hikes. I was told by many Greenlanders that this weather was a change from years ago. As I became part of the communities there, I was brought to see lines on the sides of islands that marked where ice once thrived. I was told about how winter ice and snow affected the lifestyles of hunters and communities living with sea ice and tremendous snow falls as a part of life. I went aboard research vessels that tracked populations of fish and whales affected by the recent and more extensive use of seismic sounding for oil, gas, and other types of resource exploration. I eventually left our ship, The Wanderbird, and took the opportunity to travel with two anthropologists, one a native of Greenland. We then went further North and deeper into the communities than the original chartered ship would allow. We went far up the coast, reaching 73 degrees and farther North into small, remote villages and along the ice sheet where thunderous sounds and cracking squeaking noises marked the tremendous activity of the ice.
In addition to collecting environmental data, taking field recordings, and videotape, I sat in on interviews with hunters who told me of the changes in sea ice over the last 20-60 years that they witnessed. I was welcomed into Greenlandic homes and I was taken to places along the ice sheet and around the waters of the Arctic Seas that most people will never experience. I will always feel honored for these special opportunities.
Even in this context of the changing environment, the coast of Greenland still rules as a mecca of geological, natural splendor, and I saw a tremendous amount of ice, in more varied form and scale then I imagined I would. The Arctic, and Greenland in particular, is a place like no other that needs to be documented now. The arctic needs to be written about and understood, since it will change immensely over the next twenty years. I welcome you to visit my uploaded images of ice and Greenlandic life on Facebook. Here you will see your rewards are going to be quite special!
My travels afforded me more content then I expected. I have more material and experience than I anticipated. As an artist this is a fantastic opportunity and I owe everything to you, my backers! Fortunately, I am now beginning a two month stay as an artist in residence at SUNY Stony Brook’s Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in Long Island. Here I am part of an upcoming exhibition and here I will be fulfilling your rewards.
For those of you receiving the CD and DVD, I’m happy to say that they are confirmed to be released on a sound art label this Winter. Because of the overwhelming amount of material I have been sorting through and other events this fall, things will come out a little later than projected. I assure you they will get to you this winter and the wait will be worth it! Other recent news of note include an article in the Village Voice blog published during my expedition, as well as future exhibitions of this work scheduled for the spring of 2013—I will continue to keep you updated on announcements. Thank you so much for being a part of this project. And know that I plan to return to Greenland and the Arctic in 2013-14 thanks to such a tremendous experience.
Enjoy a few images I’ve posted here...
And thank you so much again, all the best!
Melissa F. Clarke