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Exhibition exploring climate change opens at Oxygen Art Centre

By Contributor
December 31st, 2013

Requiem for a Glacier exhibit is coming to the Oxygen Art Centre beginning Friday (January 3).

In this era of environmental transformation, most people now understand that the ravages of global warming pose a real threat to the future of our planet.

The sound and video installation Requiem for a Glacier by artist Paul Walde explores the boundaries of a growing national and international movement of art practices produced with consideration for the wider impact of the work and its reception in relationship to its environment, where a representation of nature has been replaced by direct intervention.

Because of the physical demands required to access the site-specific glacier location and because of the sheer number of volunteers who participated, this project exemplifies to what extremes a community’s engagement with an issue can lead them and how powerful unified creative expression can be.
Requiem for a Glacier prematurely memorializes BC’s Jumbo Glacier area, an ancient feature of the landscape leftover from the last ice age, now under immediate threat from global warming and resort development.

The coordination of the project was lead by local curator, Kiara Lynch and involved the collaboration of roughly 100 people: a team of mountaineers, a 30 piece choir, a 40 piece orchestra, conductor, soloists, film crew, sound recording crew, sherpas, and drivers.

According to Walde, “the sheer number of people involved and the political motivation of the collaborators has given the work a dimension of social practice which is entirely new for (his) practice.”
Requiem for a Glacier is a “total work of art” in that it depended on the interconnection of audio, visual and performing arts mediums with scientific fact and community engagement to bring it to fruition.

By combining cerebral information with emotional experience this work provides an original platform for engaging with our environment. Information such as temperature records for the area, the name Jumbo, and a Latin translation of the BC government’s press release for the announcement of a year-round resort community at the site in the middle of a nature conservancy, were converted by Walde into music notation and a libretto.

It is because of this interconnectedness of science with creativity that works like Requiem for a Glacier not only show us but can make us feel the issues we are dealing with as a society.
The exhibition opens at the Oxygen Art Centre (320 Vernon Street – alley) on Friday, January 3  from 7 – 9 p.m. followed by on artist talk on Saturday, January 4  at 4 p.m.

The exhibition runs until February 8.  Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5 p.m.

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