Earth Without Ice
On Thursday October 25, the Kerrytown Concert House hosted an ‘Out of the Box’ musical performance, arranged and enacted by professors from several departments: Henry Pollack of Geophysics, and Steve Rush and Michael Gould of the School of Music. As part of the Abacus and Rose: SciArt Live series, which pairs scientists with artists, the trio of scholars created a stylish, modern piece called ‘Earth Without Ice.’
The performance consisted of a series of noises that soundtracked a slideshow of images projecting from screens on stage that faced the audience. The ‘immersive sonic landscape’ was composed of ‘found sounds’ taken from the Huron River. The photos came from Dr. Pollack’s visual journal as part of his most recent transit of the Northwest Passage from Alaska through the Canadian archipelago to Greenland. They featured vast oceans, floating chunks of ice, inuit peoples catching and gutting fish, elders laughing together, youngsters playing, seals and polar bears splashing, open earthen landscapes, and lots and lots of factories. The contrast between the natural images and the industrial environment was striking. The music was appropriately mixed to match the effect of the scenery. The recorded, manipulated, and live noises created an unusual interplay of sound which caused a strong affect on the curious audience.
The inspiration for the content came from Dr. Pollack’s recent book ‘A World Without Ice.’ The style, however, seemed to be inspired by a hybrid of John Cage’s Water Walk and Andy Goldsworthy’s nature photography. I liked the performance a lot. It conveyed a strong message about expressing the danger of climate change through artwork. It was a very unusual performance, but equally entertaining and certainly out of the box.