Arctic Sea Ice in Glass
In 2011, I was invited to participate in the Arctic Circle Residency - a chance to continue a polar trajectory to the boundary between tropical culture and what Melville referred to as the "Polar Eternities". This was at time when I had acknowledged an affinity for being at boundaries that may be considered primordial, null, or serving spaces so vast and different that we're overwhelmed by the sense of being there, where winds blow across a nearly discontinuous gradient.
Scanning Arctic ice was considered part of the observation process, and a way of translating ephemeral form into a relatively permanent context, or simply replicating it in its own ephemeral material.
I was able to scan three palm-sized pieces of Arctic sea ice retrieved from two locations around Svalbard. These scans were used in "Shunyatan Flow" (2011), a 3D animation describing a wind driven by temperature and ego. I later used one of these 3D scans to print an ice tray of the scanned Arctic sea ice forms, from which I made wax positives for feeding the glass casting process, and then six cast glass replicas. Despite being about half the size of the originals (due to 3D printer limitations), they otherwise look and feel just like the originals. The images featured in this page are from a 2012 trip to Barrow, Alaska, of the glass Arctic sea ice returning to the Arctic Ocean (literally - I lost one while taking pictures).
Scanning objects even in tropical conditions requires significant control and supporting materials, and Arctic scanning adds the known obstacle of temperature, along with the unknowns inherent in a place that remains beyond the boundary of permanent tropical expansion.