In 1869, the American painter William Bradford led an expedition sailing up the northwest coast of Greenland to create art. I am embarking on a journey to retrace the course taken by Bradford as I follow my lifelong obsession with ice, glaciers, and the terrain shaped by them. I will pursue incomparable cultural experiences while gathering data and material for a new series, After the Ice.
Why the Arctic? The Arctic contains time. It stands for a past where remains of the last great glaciation to cover North America can still be found. It stands for a future where speculation draws closer to ice melted passageways and exposed resources. It stands in the present where we witness relations between humans, ice, water, technology, terrain, and climate.
As an artist I work with data and other materials to explore this sense of place and time. From my research I make new media installations, sound, and images, such as my recent series relating to the south pole, Untitled Antarctica. The Acoustic Imaging and other data I use are traces of a place the ice scoured while it shaped the past climate and ecosystems. This data is used to model the present state of things and to project the future by geophysicists, climatologists, and glaciologists. I also make my media work with ice, water, snow, and terrain while I use other materials, such as wood and glass, in my three-dimensional video and sound installations. I create work that is immersive and generative, using custom algorithms and software. Read more about me and see more about my process in this article recently posted by the Creators Project!
(for more see: http://www.melissafclarke.com/UntitledAntarctica/)
My interest in glaciers, ice, and geology comes from having grown up in New York State. I spent summers on Lake Ontario near the Niagara River, which was both carved and filled by the Ice Sheet during the last great glaciation. Winters were spent in Syracuse, one of the snowiest and iciest of cities. As a child I imagined I was on expeditions or living at one of the poles, especially during the harshest months when I built snow forts and inspected the variations of ice and snow around me.
Now I hope to go on my first expedition! Chasing the Light is an Arctic art expedition sailing up the northwest coast of Greenland for three weeks this August. I have been invited to join the voyage by the artist and trip leader, Zaria Forman.
We will travel on the Wanderbird, a long range expedition trawler, sailing from Aasiaat, Greenland as far north as the ice permits. Your donations will support my travel expenses for this trip, allowing me to join an impressive team of artists and scholars!
I will gather data and other materials on the voyage, such as photographs, video, and sound recordings. Upon returning, I will create a new series of work through combining what I have collected with web based scientific data, such as bathymetry and ice core samples.
And to Thank You for ensuring I get there! After the expedition I will publish a small book and a CD/DVD in a limited edition run. I'll make silver gelatin prints and begin prototypes for new installations. After the Ice backers will have the opportunity to own this new work, made possible by their support.
How does Kickstarter work? Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing approach to fundraising for creative projects. The project must reach the funding goal of $12,000 in 30 DAYS or no money changes hands.
Why $12,000? Your donations will support my travel expenses for this trip. If I'm blessed to make more than the amount, I will use any extra funds to purchase materials for the new series.
Please spread the word about my Kickstarter campaign to everyone you know, through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, and the old-fashioned way—word-of-mouth. I very much appreciate your support.
A Quick Thank You to: Andrea Wolf, Andrew Reynolds, Aya Nishina, Benji Canning-Pereira, Brooks Clarke, Chris Alden, Dr. Frank O. Nitsche, Jeff Howard, Igal nassima, Khairani Barokka, Luke Dubois, Nik Psaroudakis, Peter Holzkorn, Shimpei Takeda, Zaria Forman, 319 Scholes, and to my ITP mentors, friends, and family.
This expedition was originally planned by, and dedicated to, the memory of renowned artist, Rena Bass Forman (artist and expedition leader Zaria Forman's mother), who dedicated her life to photographing the most remote regions of the earth, and was inspired by Bradford’s journey. Zaria Forman and Milbry Polk have assembled a stellar team of artists and scholars, making a fine compliment to Bradford’s journey. And with the expedition members, they've been collaborating with the New Bedford Whaling Museum curators on this exciting venture. To learn more about it, please visit the website:
Meet the Team
(bios below for above images, from left to right, then top to bottom)
Zaria Forman, co-leader, is an internationally exhibited artist. Her work is in private and museum collections. She is currently represented by DFN Gallery in NYC, the David Floria Gallery in Aspen, CO, and the Winston Wachter Gallery in Seattle, WA. She traveled widely with her mother who inspired her passion for artistic creation. Her work explores moments of transition, turbulence, and tranquility in the landscape expressed in the vastness of the ever changing sea and sky.
Milbry Polk, co-leader, is the Founder of Wings WorldQuest, the preeminent organization supporting women explorers throughout the world. She is the author/editor of a dozen books including; Women of Discovery, The Looting of the Iraqi Museum, Baghdad, Egyptian Mummies, has contributed chapters to several books including the recent The Great Explorers (2010), and is the reviews editor for The Explorers Journal. Her photographs have been exhibited widely. She is a Fellow of Wings WorldQuest, The Explorers Club, The Royal Geographical Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Pontus Lidberg, Swedish choreographer and director of international acclaim, is known for his dance film “The Rain” (2007), for which he has received numerous awards. The Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series commissioned and presented his Morphoses. He was artist in residence at Joyce SoHo and the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, creating the dance film "Labyrinth Within." He has created works for major international dance companies including The Royal Danish Ballet, The Beijing Dance Theatre, The Norwegian National Ballet, as well as for his own group Pontus Lidberg Dance which made it's US debut at the Fall For Dance Festival in New York in November 2011.
"Exemplary and poetic," writes The New York Times of Adrian Danchig-Waring and New York Magazine reviews him as "simply beautiful." Danchig-Waring attended The School of American Ballet, joined The New York City Ballet and was promoted to Soloist in 2009. He has originated roles in NYCB by choreographers including Mauro Bigonzetti, Peter Martins, Wayne McGregor, and Alexei Ratmansky and has danced featured roles in repertory works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Angelin Preljocaj. He was a founding member of Morphoses (The Wheeldon Company). Since 2008, he has collaborated with Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg in various works including 2010's "Warriors" created in New York, Hanoi, and Umeå.
Michael Lapides is a Curator of photography and director of digital initiatives at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, spearheading projects related to the Arctic including the development of an exhibit, opening spring 2013, which will relate to Bradford's 1869 expedition. The Chasing the Light Voyage will help to provide a contemporary framework for developing these ideas.
A native of Qaqortoq, Greenland, and member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, (ICC), Lene Holm is working with indigenous communities to study traditional knowledge about sea ice. She is currently involved in the Sila-Inuk project which collects observations from local sealers, fishermen, sheep breeders and other indigenous groups to document their experiences with newly changing ice and weather conditions that have resulted from global warming. Lene is participating in expeditions throughout the arctic region collecting oral histories.
Lisa Lebofsky is a painter residing in Bronx, NY. Her work furthers the landscape as a metaphor for the transcendent psyche. She has an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art and BFA in metals from SUNY New Paltz. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally. She teaches fine art classes at private and public institutions in the New York Metro area. Among several awards and residencies, she is a recent Platte Clove Artist in Residence in upstate New York.
Lisa Forman studied ballet, sculpture, photography and painting. She ran a successful portrait photography business and exhibited in Rockland County, NY. In addition, she has worked for the Tibetan Home of Hope, a non-profit corporation for many years in development and design. Bodies of work include images from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ireland, the deserts of Egypt and the Camino in Northern Spain. She is the recipient of the PDN and National Geographic traveler 2010 World in Focus award for "Sense of Place."
Marissa Bennett is an educator with Baltimore City Public Schools. An avid traveler since her youth, having visited all seven continents before the age of 21, she is keenly interested in cross cultural communication and promoting culturally responsive practices in the classroom. With her teaching approach firmly rooted in inquiry-based learning, her students will be integral to her role before, during and after the expedition.
Scott Forman, M.D. is currently Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurosurgery and Neurology at NY Medical College in Valhalla, New York. After completing 4 years of training in neurobiology and psychobiology research, he trained at UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and did a fellowship in Neuro-ophthalmology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. He has accompanied Rena on all of her journeys and acted as the documentary photographer.
Daniel A. Bennett has been a successful entrepreneur and business executive and lifelong traveler. He was the founder and CEO of Sunbelt Sportswear and DAB Real Estate, Ltd. and served as the president of The Explorer’s Club for three years. Daniel has participated in numerous flag expeditions, ranging from an excavation in the Andes to a photographic documentation of the ecological and geographical changes of the Galapagos Islands.
And Me (Melissa F. Clarke). My Bio is to the Right!
- (29 days)