Dispatches from Antarctica

Artists and curators are increasingly using a range of technologies to document global warming's rapid transformation of the planet. Painter Joy Garnett's blog StrangeWeather.info and Shane Brennan's curated weblog New Climates both provide a clearing-house for information about art projects related to environmental issues. This past fall, non-profit organization Electronic Music Foundation's environmental sound art festival Ear to the Earth brought together artists and musicians from the world over to produce and show projects on the subject. Undeniably, the art community is acting in response to an ever-greater urgency to acknowledge and appreciate the fleeting visual and audio experiences of the natural world. For years, digital media artist Andrea Polli has centered her practice around environmental concerns with such projects as Airlight Taipei (2006) and Atmospherics/Weather Works (2004) (included in the Rhizome Artbase). During December and January, Polli traveled to Antarctica to capture the quickly disappearing beauty of the region through sound and video. The trip is a residency funded by the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, and it will allow her to work alongside the scientists from the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research Project. Polli created the blog 90degreesesouth.org to report and share her recordings and reflections. Visitors to the site can listen to Polli's field recordings of melting glaciers and icebergs, as well as take in a number of instructive audio interviews with notable climatologists and meteorologists, such as co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Dr. Andreas Fischlin, meteorologist Dr. Matt Lazzara of University of Wisconsin, Dr. Rick Aster, among many others. 90degreessouth.org provides a rare and informative artist's perspective on the day-to-day activities of scientists working in a spectacular and often strenuous environment. - Ceci Moss