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Studioantarctica: Embedding Art in a Geophysics Sea Ice Expedition
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STATEMENTS STUDIOANTARCTICA: EMBEDDING ART IN A GEOPHYSICS SEA ICE EXPEDITION Gabby O’Connor, University of Auckland, National Institute of Water and Atmosphere, Greta Point, 6022, Wellington, New Zealand. Email: . Craig Stevens, University of Auckland, National Institute of Water and Atmosphere, Greta Point, 6022, Wellington, New Zealand. Email: . See for supplemental files associated with this issue. Submitted: 27 December 2016 Abstract Motivated by the potential for cross-disciplinary outcomes, an artist was embedded in a science expedition to the sea ice around Antarctica , as part of an art-science collaboration with marine physicist Craig Stevens. The scientist and the artist together focused on ice crystal formation. Most elements of the art process had three phases—before, during and after the science process. The environment largely dominated the progress and evolution of ideas. The results were multimaterial and multiscale and provided a way to engage a wide range of audiences while also making nondidactic connections around global climate—and producing art. Keywords: cross-disciplinary research, STEAM, Antarctica, sea ice, education. It is clear that the relationship between art and science is undergoing a radical change. The need to make stronger links between science and society is motivating a wider envelope of pathways—of which art is one. Interdisciplinary approaches have often provided substantial advances, with the tradeoff being that it is not easy to penetrate the status quo. Here we describe the development of a new collaboration in art-science that seeks to connect across scales as well as across disciplines. Our collaborative space is the “sub-grid scale” cryosphereocean interface. Much science these days is about numerical (computer) simulation; however, there is an underlying science ecosystem that works in the interstices, looking to understand actual processes, often at small scales. In the world of geophysical science, Antarctica is a focal point as it influences a range of global processes, many of which relate to climate and anthropogenic influences on climate. This forms a backdrop for the art as we seek to find ways of enhancing awareness about the global system in non-obvious ways. Scientists have been seeking to understand the connection between the hidden ocean beneath ice shelves—some of the least explored ocean on the planet—and the sea ice that aprons Antarctica every winter, using precision measurements of ice and ocean properties, as well as some of the subtleties such as the ocean’s turbulent mixing of heat and the actual mechanical roughness of the ice on its underside. A focal point of this research is the production and manifestation of ice crystals [1] (Fig. 1). These ice crystals are typically a few centimeters in scale and are highly multifaceted. They impact the passage of ocean water and also influence how satellites perceive the icecovered ocean. The story here is of a five-year-plus multifaceted collaboration between an artist (O’Connor) and a scientist (Stevens) to support this research. As with most collaborations, we have had to work within the primary works on both sides, alongside other collaborations, and of course within funding constraints. The connected interfacial understandings and outcomes can’t be directly manufactured. Just as with novel science or art, an art-science advance can’t be specified in a proposal and then “achieved”; It is essentially a leap into the unknown. One of the places, however, that our project had clear application was in education. Art proves an effective vehicle for teaching a number of science and mathematics concepts. We have developed a protocol for introducing environmental and climate science, as well as mathematics and mission-oriented group work, to 5- to 12-year-olds [2]. After exploring possible ways to build on the collaboration, we determined that available contemporary Art-in-Science programs were not well suited to extending the collaboration and its outcomes. They were too prescriptive and didn’t adequately allow for collaboration or take full advantage of the science taking place. In our first foray into the collaboration beyond discussion, O’Connor began developing the art at a distance. This involved providing prepared materials and instructions for assembly in a field camp. This resulted in some useful pieces and imagery but was very much fit in between spaces in the...


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