december 18

If you haven't already noticed, I tend to write these posts every morning about the previous day.  So this morning, which is December 19, Reykjavik has snow on the ground!  Despite what one might assume about Iceland, this month of December has been full of wind and rain, but no snow (although we can see it far in the distance).  Just in time for our Icelandic Christmas dinner that is happening this evening at the residence!  The SIM staff will be taking over the kitchen to make us the true Icelandic meal- I'll have more to report on that tomorrow.

Today's post is broken into a few fragments as I re-group from our trip and look at wrapping up the residency.


Moving On
Now for yesterday's thoughts-  Being out on the road the past few days, I had a ton of grading to wrap up and post finals.  I did spend a lot of the day doing that however I did take advantage of the beautiful light coming through my room to re-shoot some footage that I had been frustrated with prior to leaving for the coast.

new, new footage being edited

new, new footage being edited

Do you know what that means?  I'm taking another stab at the last morse code piece with a slightly differently approach.  What a difference a few days make.  And what seems completely ridiculous is that the resolution to some of my major frustrations was the quality of the imagery.  So I'm re-shooting it (and re-shooting it because even yesterday wasn't quite right).  Funny how the most obvious of solutions are not obvious at all.

But what I am also contemplating is their life beyond youtube.  I'm now considering what their life would be as installed in a gallery.  It seemed to be another piece of the puzzle that I had not been thinking about and now I feel I should be so that is on the docket today.  Plus it begins to start to feel more like something that I might make and not this somewhat left field "now I use video" nonsense.

We'll see what happens.


Thoughts on Glaciers
I hadn't mentioned what happened when we pulled into our second lagoon (Jökulsárlón of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier) the other day.  Friday was an utterly overwhelming day.  I mean, so was Thursday and Saturday, but Friday we visited glaciers in probably the most perfect weather ever.  I mean it was damn cold but the light was stunning.  

We talked a little bit in the car about what actually is a glacier.  Have you really thought about it before?  I mean I have always just been like "it's beautiful chunks of floating ice" and while that is true, there is something far more poetic about them.

We were at the largest ice cap in Iceland, Vatnajökull (which is a national park of the same name), which covers 8300 kilometers.  So we started to discuss that the ice cap rests above volcanos (the largest being Grímsvötn in that region) and in the depths under the ice is geothermal activity cause by the volcano.  It's mind boggling to think about the coldness of this ice and the stirring heat that it covers.  Over a gajillion years (accurate measurement), the moisture freezes and heats up and freezes over and over again which causes what we see in glaciers.  Then, from time to time, volcanic eruptions happen to release pressure the ice caps create.  

We saw two different types of ice- bright blue pieces and shimmering clear pieces.  The pieces that break away from the glacier and float in the lagoon is a process called 'calving.'  The blue pieces are the oldest and have that color due to its density.  This is many, many years of accumulation which results in extremely compacted crystalline structure where all colors of light pass through the ice, except for blue, leaving it the color we see.  The clear pieces, well, they are the babies of the group.  

This is a pretty generalized explanation.  If you want more on glaciers, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacier

Now, I had to research some of that for you so I could explain it properly.  When we arrived on Friday, I wasn't thinking of any of that (or at least with any amount of depth).  At risk of sounding melodramatic, we got the first glimpse of the glacier calves and my eyes welled up.  Then we pull around to the lagoon and my eyes bubbled over with tears and to my surprise, I just started to cry and cry.  I have no idea how or why it happened like that.  I would have thought I could control myself over a bunch of floating ice in a lagoon.

But think of it, it has formed over a thousand years.  It's what we based our metaphors on- and oddly correlates with the videos I've been making here- the composure and stillness on the outside that covers over the intensity of turmoil on the inside.  And these pieces break off, calves, as children of the glacier and cast away into the water to melt and fall away forever.  And with climate change as a reality, it falls away without hope.  

I feel as though I watched these pieces of ice, as beautiful as they are, as these tragic figures in their swan song.  That, is overwhelming.  

Svínafellsjökull

Svínafellsjökull

 

I completely get that I am personifying an inanimate object (but as artists don't we do that sometimes anyway).  

Svínafellsjökull

Svínafellsjökull

I wanted to write a bit more today but I'm afraid this took much longer than anticipated so I need to move along.  More tomorrow, including a report on Icelandic dinner, menu and all!