Smart Talk on Antarctica And Climate Change

An iceberg named Ernest

When multimedia artist Joseph Michael was visiting Antarctica with the aim of gathering images of icebergs, it became helpful for him to individualise what he was looking at. The grandest of the floating structures he photographed was called Ernest. “It was almost like a crown,” he recalls.

“You could see it in the distance. And it was weird because you could see icebergs around, and there was this one which just had a mass to it. It was much bigger. Even though it was further away, it just sort of stuck out on the horizon. And then once we got there we circled around it.

To map the iceberg Michael and his team took quite a few thousand photographs, and sent a sound recordist in a dinghy to record closeup the sound of it. Before undertaking the project, Michael had no idea that every iceberg sounds as different as they look photographically, so the process of capturing the whole essence of it was a multimedia affair.

These photographs were knitted together electronically to provide a full 360-degree image of Ernest, which was then projected onto the Auckland Museum as part of the Auckland Arts Festival installation ANTARCTICA – while you were sleeping. The aim was to bring Antarctica to life through projections which, though still on a massive scale, were often far smaller than the original subjects.

Premiered in Auckland, the installation is to be taken on a global tour to raise awareness of Antarctica and climate change.

About the participants:

Noelle McCarthy is a writer and broadcaster based in Auckland and well-known for her work on Radio New Zealand.

Joseph Michael is a multimedia artist. His current project is ANTARCTICA: while you were sleeping, an encompassing installation celebrating the pristine scenery of Antarctica following a month-long expedition in 2015.

The Director of the Deep South Challenge, Dr Mike Williams, has spent a fair bit of time in Antarctica. Mike is an oceanographer for NIWA, researching how ocean and ice interact around Antarctica.

Associate Professor Sandy Morrison is leading one of the Deep South National Science Challenges, studying iwi relationships with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.

Smart Talk on Antarctica And Climate Change
0:00 / 48:11