The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) is an eight-week expeditionary research and educational program in Southeast Alaska. Through the year prior, I worked with the leadership team to craft and organize the residency, and then spent the summer of 2017 as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence. I will continue to partner with JIRP to dream up and implement the importance of art as a tool for science communication and interdisciplinary learning in the field.
The residency program is an important addition to JIRP, to help visualize connections between science and society, and to provide a unique educational experience for students to approach the Juneau Icefield with an analytical, creative, and scientific lens. In turn, artists are given the opportunity to pursue their creative practice in the field, while simultaneously diving deeper into the scientific realms with which their art intersects.
Artists may work on projects while on the Icefield connected to JIRP’s research, and expand their art practice as they participate in scientific fieldwork and exploration. In turn, artists create a more holistic educational experience for JIRP participants by leading artistic workshops and giving creative presentations. They also work closely with JIRP on methods of visualizing data from student research projects, as well as strategies of communicating climate science and JIRP’s mission to a wider audience.
While traversing over the Icefield, I used art as a lens to communicate climate science, while studying glaciology onsite. I explored ways to blur the line between human and geologic time scales, experimented with time-based photographic processes to document scientific process, sunlight, and glacial melt, and used storytelling and memory to access a more emotional understanding of climate change.
The Confluence of Water is a series of abstract blue ice-inspired field sketches, completed at different sites while traversing across the Icefield.
Love Letters for Glaciers is a time capsule project, created with the participants of the 2017 field season of JIRP. At the end of the expedition, each student, staff, and faculty member was invited to write their own “love letter for a glacier” and add it to a time capsule that I installed overlooking the JIRP basecamp and Gilkey Glacier.
Hydraulic Consequences is a series of cyanotype prints made in collaboration with ecology faculty Catharine White. Each print is made by exposing cyanotype on whatman paper – an absorbent filter paper used in collecting ecology samples, such as separating algae from snow.
Ice Fields is a photo project created on the Icefield. Each photograph was exposed throughout the day from one of three basecamps, creating a direct negative cyanotype print in the camera. The images record every non-rainy day I experienced over the course of the eight-week residency, while living and traversing over the icefield.
Lighter Than the Water in the Ocean is a series of cyanotype prints. In collaboration with the Isotope Geochemistry Research Team, each print was exposed using a snow sample collected on an expedition to a remote section of the Icefield. Taken together, the samples span the last year's worth of weather.
Taught cyanotype workshops in the field to students and faculty. Each participant learned about the photographic process and experimented with different exposure techniques, from traditional botany prints to melting snow on the print.
After a hike up to the summit of Taku B peak, each student and faculty member experimented with watercolor painting and pastels to sketch a segment of a panorama view of the Taku Glacier. Rendering took an abstract turn when our view disappeared into a white-out.
Led field sketching exercises as a strategy for recording scientific research and documenting experience. Field sketching sessions took place across the Icefield throughout the summer, and ranged from lessons on perspective, to contour drawing, scientific illustration, note-taking, and shading. Many sessions were led in collaboration with fellow artists Annika Ord and Kristin Link.