[ POLAR GLASS: GLACIER AT BOREBUKTA (78°25′ N 014°06 E), 2014 ]

Polar Glass


Polar Glass: Glacier at Borebukta (78°25′ N 014°06 E) is the recording of a glacier slowly melting near the degree location listed within the title. The glacier is at the end (or top) of the earth. In a recent expedition to the Arctic Circle during the summer solstice of 2014, I encountered glaciers in the polar cap of the planet that were cascaded in the vibrant rays of the midnight sun which bathed the ice fronts in 24 hours of daylight. The glaciers white fronts met the sun’s short orbit around the sky reflecting a blinding light which lead to the continual cracking of the ice. Sometimes the ice sounded like a glass of cold ice water shifting and dispersing into a cup on a hot summer day. Other times the ice would calve in large pieces or sheets which would initiate a small tsunami wave and a thunderous roar at my feet. More often the glacial shifts sounded like small pieces of glass being dropped into a shallow pool.

Climbing off the rocky shore and up to the shored ice, my feet sunk into the quick sand-like terrain that surrounded the base of the ancient ice. My ears rested against its surface and my hands gripped its slick sides. The sound recorded is the real time recording of this particular glacial ice’s accelerated depletion of remaining life. It is the sound of its transformation to its new body- a fluid and traveling expanse. An expanse that in the future may cover our lands and change the earth from the way we recognize it now as we move into the future. As the sound waves of this recording travel farther into the world as vibrations, becoming quieter and quieter, they meet the friction of the atmosphere falling silent. Much like the sound vibrations of this piece, the glaciers themselves will also become silent.