Inland ice, NZIcefest

Photo credit Aaron Campbell Photography

So Icefest has come and gone now and this post has been sitting incomplete in my drafts for the last couple of hectic weeks. Sorry!

Here is the link to the info about Inland Ice and NZ Icefest- that is now being disassembled. This is probably the shortest time frame I have created an installation for – it was open to the public for a little over two weeks. An incredible amount of focus for me but it had high impact and a very consistent audience, as well as a 24 hour time cycle. It was also an wonderful problem solving exercise /collaboration with the weather and collaboration with a really interesting and excellent bunch of people who all played a part in making my project and Icefest happen.
Over the weekend I was given an incredible opportunity to speak at Breaking Ice symposium along with some very esteemed and inspirational others. I felt like a very small fish but also that my thoughts and practice were completely relevant to the content of the day. There were many holes in my talk as I always have too much to say and included too many images and there was not enough time. However, the most important points were heard and were also part of the general consensus of the power of combining art and science and the similarities rather than the differences between the disciplines despite appearances and how we are taught to separate them.

Yesterday I was able to tear down some of my favourite sections that I will keep for no particular reason other than fondness, and the remaining 21 panels will be dismantled over the week and the materials will be reclaimed while some will unfortunately be disposed of.
Things are calming down for me now which will allow all the excitement of the past year or so [but especially of the past weekend] distill and manifest into something new. I have no major projects on the horizon which is a combination of scary and thrilling. What it will really mean is that I can get back to some painting and research so I can write some proposals rather than just keeping up.
More Icefest pics soon though – I just have a serious amount of editing to do there!

It’s finished but opens Friday

On Sunday, I thought I’d finished the majority of Inland Ice for Nz Icefest but a massive Southerly wind had other ideas. About 7 of the 23 panels had been damaged over night so Monday was all about creating a repair strategy as it was too windy to get on a ladder. I literally hid inside the marquee on site-avoiding both the wind and the sight of a partially deconstructed artwork. I took lots of deep breaths and ate a lot of chocolate! I also created mesh ‘bandages’ in order to make the structure gale proof. Once he wind subsided (it got up to around 100km p/h) at 5pm I got to start the repair process and after a team dinner, we all worked until almost midnight sorting most of it out. I had to delay coming back to Wellington so flights and accom and childcare were rearranged. I then worked all Tuesday doing all the final touches, a final lighting test and a partial pack out-partial because we had to race to the airport! But it is finished now, although still behind fences until Friday and will be available to visit from Friday 26 September till October 12 in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. NZ Icefest is open 10-10 everyday and there is much to enjoy!
Now I am going to catch up with my family and rest my aching muscles. 9 x 12 hr days in a row working outdoors has taken it’s toll. More pics soon though once the fence comes down.





On the home stretch





Antarctic Art vs Weather from Antarctica

After doing some very exciting lighting tests on Tuesday night, a southerly wind did its thing the night before last and for most of yesterday. It certainly put Inland Ice through its paces and revealed many weaknesses. It looked pretty bad, but actually wasn’t. The weather is something that the work always had to come to terms with.
Despite the work looking slightly shredded at times, I managed to devise some strategies to balance the aesthetic and structural needs of the work. I am glad the work was subjected to the Southerly while I was there, and in the early stages of the installation. From today-Sunday, I have Correna my assistant full time and I think that we will make some more rapid and visible progress. Actually, we have to as I am booked on a flight out on Monday evening.
This is a very physical project. Lots of scaffolding climbing, weather and rain wrangling, ladders and repetition and problem solving [and adjusting/modifying expectations] . I wish I could say that I am sleeping well, but I am not even though I am exhausted after each 12 hour day. Maybe next week!







Right now









Playing catch ups

I am sitting in a plane about to depart Wellington again to work in Christchurch this week on Inland Ice for or NZ Icefest.
I have to say I am a bit nervous and had a really interrupted sleep last night as I can’t really stop thinking about the project and anticipating solutions to potential problems as well as coming up with some new and improved strategies for dealing with such a large sculptural work.
Initially I thought Inland Ice would be about 3m tall, but it turns out that she is 4.5m tall in places. She is still 20m long.

I visited Christchurch last week on Thursday for another site visit to see the completed frame work. Chris, Tom and Si did an amazing job and the engineer is happy and I am too. I also ran a very awesome Ice Shelf workshop for a group of Christchurch Homeschool kids. It started with my usual presentation via powerpoint, but as I didn’t have my scientist Craig Stevens in tow, I had to try and deliver as much of scientific context and information about Antarctica as possible. I think it went Ok.
Then we hopped into the making part of the the workshop where the kids partnered up and negotiated the geometries of the project for a while until they were ready to join them together. The partners then joined with other partner groups until we had made one complete section. It was team work at its best. Such a great and well mannered and engaged bunch of kids with a great result that will be incorporated into Inland Ice this week. Thanks guys.

And to top things off, I was invited to speak to the Science Communication class at Victoria University, Wellington with poet Helen Heath and Michele Fontana and his wonderful Museum in a Pizza Box project. It was an honour to be included with these colleagues to present alternative science communication outputs to the students. It was also such a treat to witness Helen and Michele’s practices in action. Thanks to Rhian Salmon and Rebecca Priestly for engineering such an interesting afternoon. There is much to reflect on, but for another time.

Back to today. I am hoping that it will be able to blog daily as the most exciting and visually interesting part of the project takes place over the next 8 days. Thankfully I have a highly qualified assistant Correna and hopefully I will get a few interested volunteers to help out too. If you are in Christchurch and have a spare hour or two, leave me a message below.
Or pop by to see the work take shape. It is just off Cathedral square.
But for now, I have to sign off as the plane is getting ready for landing.


Its all happening

So, last week, I had a site visit to Christchurch where the frame for Inland Ice at Nz Icefest was just beginning to be erected. I met with the builders, the engineer and also the lighting company who will be illuminating the work. It was all really exciting and also very positive. I am very lucky to be working with such highly skilled and awesome people




By the end of the week, the whole 20m long structure was finished and tested and approved which is another relief.



[thanks to Vanessa Reed for the pics]

Meanwhile, back in Wellington, I ran some ‘ice shelf’ workshops with Craig Stevens of Niwa/University of Auckland at Wadestown school. Apparently we had about 250 kids over two sessions. This is a record for me. Craig and I both gave powerpoint presentations about our work and how they cross over. Then the kids helped by joining sections of off cuts of Tyvek together. These sections will go into the big Inland Ice iceshelf in Christchurch next week. Pics and timelapse to come of this magnificent example of organised and productive chaos. The kids were awesome. It was amazing.

To top the week off, Craig and I gave and artist talk at the National Library. It was very much a grown up version of what we do with the kids. Revealing process and inspiration with a lot more detail and a bit less talk about the cute animals of Antarctica (which cause an almost riot with the kids) and without the making. Such an attentive audience and really thoughtful inline we a of questioning.


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