2004 Expedition Blog
Saturday, 18 September 2004, 09:12 (CF2 time)
Daily blog post, Saturday 18 September 2004
A surreal and extreme arctic morning. 5.30am start, the light only just arriving and the boat anchor is lifted and we head slowly up the fjord, its minus 6 degree centigrade with a gentle arctic wind.
Kathy and I are trying the impossible, to project text from a video projector onto ice, and photograph it. Yesterday I had prepared some texts, single statements, which are inspired by the writings of Gretel Ehrlich who was on our expedition last year. The work I am trying to do is a reaction to the limitations of a photograph - I can photograph out to sea, an image of cold and ice, but it is impossible with the photographic image to tell the complex story that is happening under the surface of the sea, the oceanography measurements that tell us what is the state of our planet, why it is warming and to what extent.
The texts I use are narrative, emotive, yet allure to the climate change debate. Our object on this cold arctic morning is to get the technology to work, or rather to see if it will work at all.
Maaike maneuvers the Noorderlicht close to a small iceberg, about the size of a double decker bus as we crank up the laptop and adjust the projector, both of us leaning over the ships gunnels. There is a fear that the ice would only absorb and not reflect the projected text but as we get closer the words BURNING ICE float in the surface of the sea and then magically shimmer on the ice - success - the only problem now is to record it. On video it looks wonderful but still film is slower on my Hasselblad shutter speeds are woefully slow.
Two hours later and by now very cold, we retire for breakfast and analyze our efforts. Yes it will work, but there are problems to resolve with recording the image. We also have to find a glacier that is not moving too fast or calving so we can get the Noorderlicht close enough, about 10 metres. This is potentially risky as ice calving can be very dramatic - Simon worked out that a particular calving we filmed earlier in the voyage threw 40,000 tons of glacier ice into the sea.
While all this work was going on Simon conducted his last fjord temperature/salinity sounding, filmed by Colin and his crew, Dan found and collected a plaster cast he had moored underwater which had been eroded by water currents and Quentin, from BBC Radio 4 'The Material Word', recorded all that moved. All pre breakfast!