I have been back from Antarctica for just over a week and it has been an interesting and busy time. My whole state of being while there was of sensory, intellectual and creative [over] stimulation. It was one of the most incredible experiences to date, both creatively and I think professionally. I am pretty sure I was smiling, buzzing and bouncing off the walls for most of it like a giant toddler. I didn’t really want to sleep, but keep working, and even when I tried I just lay there thinking about work. The 24 hour daylight probably helped too. Needless to say, when I got back I was exhausted. Even though there is no difference in time-zones between Wellington and the McMurdo area of Antarctica, I had some kind of jet-lag and being back in a world full of different weather, animals, plants, people and food options was another kind of sensory overload and I had to shut down.
I have also been trying to work out how to deliver and present and process all of the data that I collected while on the ice. I literally have thousands of photographs of both scenery, field camp work as well as artwork created. There are also 500ish video files to be logged and their usefulness determined and I also kept a diary. Not a confessional, but more containing lists of the things that happened that I don’t want to forget.
Anyhow, I haven’t fully resolved how I will do this yet. It is possible that I will drip feed blog entries chronologically after I have dealt with the 1000’s of gb data collected. In some ways, I wonder if all of it belongs in its own separate place but I am not completely sure that if that will work either. The trip to Antarctica and the data collected in isolation is one thing but I know that the legacy of the experience as well as how the data is processed is going to cross pollinate all the other work that I do in ways I can’t control. Sorry, thinking out loud here, but I do need to be strategic about how I disseminate the data/ documentation and new artworks. What I don’t want to do is dilute their power or value by rushing anything.
However, this week I am straight back into it and I have been busy doing preparation for a mural project that I am involved in at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. I have worked with two groups of high school kids to develop some murals that will be on display for at least a year on the concourse.
Here a a few pics and the video of the painting preparation. The actual action of painting a 5m wall with brightly coloured paint has been some kind of therapy for me. Such a simple thing to do but you get to use your whole body and I love how intense colour stimulates my retina.
The time-lapse video should be here on my vimeo page.
In the meantime, I am preparing some talks that will form part of the outreach responsibilities from my time in Antarctica. This is something that I realise that I am mostly comfortable doing, and the fact that I am still excited and buzzing from the experience should be capitalised on.
So here is my to-do list:
- Preparing a talk for a symposium in Auckland next week that forms part of the exhibition project that I am working early next year. http://www.artcop21.com/events/temp-a-climate-change-forum-to-progress-an-outdoor-arts-science-experience/
- Preparing another talk for the SCANZ – Science Communicators Association of NZ annual conference http://www.scanz.co.nz/events/conference15
- Thinking about developing another couple of talks.
- Logging and reviewing all of the video files that will be hopefully used for an online course at Victoria University next year.
- Preparing and strategising for the big TEMP project early next year. There is a large education/outreach/community collaboration component that needs to be refined and organised.
- Sourcing materials for the above.
- Organising and retouching photographs from the work that I did in the K131 Field Camp in Antarctica. There is lots of dust, water droplets, a cracked surface and seal snot to remove.
- Keep pushing future projects as after the end of March 2016 I have nothing on the agenda.
- Paint a couple of murals.
- Spend time with family.
I am definitely not winding down as the year comes to a close and really when I think about it my work and life are very intertwined, so even if I didn’t have that massive list above, I would be painting and drawing from the photographs taken on the ice. It is the perfect way to analyse and make new observations from images that would otherwise be hanging out in deep storage.