No Frontier will be screened at 70 Oxford Street (the old Cornerhouse) in Manchester, UK, on the evening of January 24th, 2019. I’ll be presenting this work in the context of a discussion of the creative uses of assembly and appropriation, alongside artist-curator-academic Amy Cutler. This is a free event:
Worldwide coordination of glacier monitoring began in 1894 with the creation of the Commission Internationale des Glaciers (CIG), now the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), but the monitoring of individual glaciers, such as Leirufjarðarjökull in Iceland, began as early as 1840. The long-term aim of such endeavours was to gain insight into the processes of climate change.
Quoin 4 presents a combination of data sourced from the WGMS along with aerial photographs from the US Naval Oceanographic Office to highlight ice-sheet recession over the past 100 years and more. ‘Front variation’ refers to the recorded difference in position of a glacier’s front edge – a positive figure indicates glacier advance, whereas a negative figure indicates glacier retreat.
The music that accompanies this volume of Quoin was composed using only sine waves – the purest and simplest periodic oscillations or tones. These tones were then subjected to increasing amounts of feedback in order to simulate the so-called ice-albedo feedback mechanism. This is the process whereby the action of melting glaciers reduces the global surface area of ice, thereby reducing the amount of solar radiation that glaciers reflect, which in turn increases global temperatures and causes further glacial melting. Ring modulation and distortion were also used to further deteriorate the sound signal.
Front Variations was researched whilst on residency in Iceland.
Two new recordings made whilst on residency in Iceland are now available via Aeolian Editions:
A new short film, No Frontier, to be screened at the forthcoming exhibition at Skaftfell.
No Frontier is a short film that explores the psychological effects of travel, climate change, remoteness and isolation. Filmed on the eastern fringes of Iceland during a time when the artist had no permanent address, these motionless, lingering images mimic the stop-and-shoot superficiality of the tourist, but their subject matter – the idiosyncratic and the everyday – is entirely different from the usual tourist fare. These are images suffused with ambivalent emotions: confusion, revulsion, longing – there is a yearning for certainty and security amidst a blizzard of often indecipherable media noise (sourced from Icelandic radio, UK shipping forecasts, American TV news channels, & Youtube clips). The sense of unease is compounded by a series of captioned, first-person texts, adapted from the Poetic Edda, which essay a kind of psychological disturbance that is both deeply personal and reflective of a more widespread cultural trauma.