A new digital project called Meltdown Flags envisions the disastrous effects of the ongoing climate crisis. Countries with glaciers see a reduction in the amount of white on their flags, which serves as a visual representation of the shrinking ice masses. Canada’s middle section begins at full width in 1995 before condensing in both 2020 and 2050. The United States’ white stripes similarly are a fraction of their usual height by the middle of the century.
Created by the digital design studio Moby Digg, Meltdown Flags also functions as an online tool replete with statistics about the percentage of glacier retreat from 1995 to 2050, the nation’s population, landmass, and emissions. Information on Argentina, for example, details the consequences of melting glaciers in the Andes. “Although the Perito Moreno glacier has shown an advance in the past years, ice in this region is being lost at some of the highest rates on the planet,” the page says. “And as ice vanishes, heat increases, resulting in long periods of drought, heavy rainfall, and flooding which could affect up to 130,000 people.”
The project outlines the severity of global warming, saying that based on the current projections, glaciers will be gone by 2100 and “with them, 69% of the world’s drinking water.” Meltdown Flags begins its timeline in 1995 when the first United Nations Climate Change Conference occurred. The UN hoped to reach net-zero emissions and keep the global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celcius by 2050.
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Pastel artist Zaria Forman’s subject of choice is the glacier. The natural phenomenon that occurs around the globe is a critical element of cold-weather ecosystems, as well as a barometer of global climate health. The Brooklyn-based artist travels worldwide, often accompanying scientific expeditions, to experience and document glaciers firsthand, taking thousands of reference photographs to inform her enormous pastel drawings.
In translating her real-world travels on to paper, Forman shares that she draws from memory as well as from her reference photographs. “Occasionally I will re-shape the ice a little, or simplify a busy background to create a balanced composition, but 90% of the time I am depicting the exact scene that I witnessed, because I want to stay true to the landscape that existed at that point in time.”
Forman shares with Colossal that her passion for remote landscapes was sparked in childhood, when she traveled the world with her family—including her fine art photographer mother. As an adult she has channeled this fascination with our planet’s vast and varied landscapes into her art practice.
Climate change is arguably the largest crisis we face as a global society. I feel a responsibility as an artist to address this in my work, especially since I’ve had the rare opportunity to travel to remote places at the forefront of the crisis. Psychology tells us that humans take action and make decisions based on emotion above all else. Studies have shown that art impacts our emotions. I convey the beauty as opposed to the devastation of threatened places in my work. If people can experience the sublimity of these landscapes, perhaps they will be inspired to protect and preserve them.
Many of the works shown here feature Greenland’s glaciers. Last winter, Forman also re-visited Antactica and Patagonia’s southern ice fields, and she has just started working on a series around Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. “Impressively, Perito Moreno glacier is the third largest reserve of fresh water on the planet, surpassed only by the Antarctic and Greenland Ice sheets,” Forman explains to Colossal. “It also happens to be the only glacier in the southern ice fields that is not retreating. But it’s not advancing, either. I am excited to dive into its details and textures in these new compositions.”
Next summer, Forman’s solo show will be on view at Winston Wächter Fine Art in Seattle. The artist is also curating an exhibition for the National Geographic Endurance, a polar expedition ship, which will be installed in February, 2020. Follow along with Forman’s work and travels on Instagram.
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Surreal Blue Spheres of Ice Juxtaposed with Everyday Life Document the Unrelenting Pace of Melting Glaciers
Amidst everyday scenes of contemporary India, unusual blue spheres appear atop buildings, nestled next to marigold vendors, and resting on temple steps. Though the composite images, created by photographer Dillon Marsh (previously), are constructed, the chunks of lost glacier ice are a reality. Using data compiled from scientific reports, Marsh calculated and scaled the volumetric ice models for specific mountains that are losing their critically important glaciers. In a statement on the project, Counting the Costs, Marsh explained, “the aim is to draw attention to the dramatic climate changes that continue unabated while we go about our day-to-day lives.”
The South African photographer started this series in India because it is home to some of the world’s tallest mountains, and is planning to expand the series to other countries including the United States and Switzerland. Marsh, who often explores the relationship between the natural and built environment in his work, shares with Colossal that Counting the Costs draws from his previous series, For What It’s Worth. “There are a number of reason I’ve chosen to represent the volumes as spheres, but the primary reason is that it’s a recognizable shape and visually interesting, Marsh explains. “Aesthetically I want the images to be slightly surreal to counterbalance the serious themes I’m tackling.”
The photographer has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions, with his most recent solo show at Hydra + Fotografia in Mexico City. Marsh shares new projects and updates from his travels on Instagram and Behance. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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In the ever-widening world of drone photography, Reuben Wu (previously) has made a name for himself with his unique images that combine lighted drone patterns with stark observations of natural land formations. Two months ago, Wu travelled to Peru to continue his body of work called Lux Noctis. Peru’s Pastoruri Glacier is a rare remaining tropical glacier, sited at 17,000 feet above sea level in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range.
The trip was part of the filming for a Great Big Story (previously) video series titled “Made From Mountains,” and involved research, scouting, and treacherous travel to safely reach the glacier. In addition to the logistical challenges and the frigid, remote location, Wu shares with Colossal, “I photographed the glacier with conflicting feelings. I wanted to show evidence of its alarming retreat, yet I was drawn to the epic scale of the ice which remained. In the end I leaned towards the latter, but each photograph represents a bleak reality, a fading memory of what once stood.”
You can see more of the artist’s illuminated photography on Instagram and Facebook. Wu’s artist book of his Lux Noctis series is available for pre-order and is already almost sold out. Reuben Wu’s “Coors Light: Made from Mountains” episode is featured on greatbigstory.com. (via PetaPixel)
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Photographer Jan Erik Waider (previously) splits his time between Hamburg, Germany and traveling through the harsh and unpredictable climate of Nordic countries like Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. In each of these locations Waider seeks the most remote and hidden locations, wishing to present rarely seen perspectives of the native landscape to a larger audience. For more than a decade he has captured the monumental beauty of northern glaciers, isolating their color and shape in a way that makes the icy cliffs appear almost extraterrestrial.
In one ongoing series titled Remnants, Waider finds abandoned pieces of icebergs that lay like “stranded whales” on Iceland’s south coast. “Powerful waves wash around them and drag them further ashore, after they drifted aimlessly in the sheltered lagoon for months,” he explains. “The colors tell stories about age and density, and they speak of the history of the volcanoes that let black ash rain down and darkened the skies.”
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This amazing shot was captured last year by photographer Denis Budkov in an ice cave near the Mutnovsky volcano in an area of northern Russia. Known for an abundance of precipitation the area is often covered in several meters of snow and ice that cover mountain streams like this creating vast caves that look like something out of a science fiction movie. This particular cave was nearly 300m (980 ft.) long and several photographers in Budkov’s group also snapped a few amazing shots. The photographer also captured this jaw-dropping photo of some tourists in front of a volcanic explosion earlier this year. The power of depth of field, right? (via Russia Travel Blog)
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.