While writing about nature, Rachel Carson drew from a literature background as well as a scientific one, merging prose with science to form evocative and poetic portraits of the environment. This formula serves as a model for subsequent generations of environmental writers, scientists and artists.
A half century after The Sea Around Us and Silent Spring, our collaborative endeavor Adfreeze Project follows in Carson's wake. As an interdisciplinary team, we approach our research on the Arctic from the fields of sound and visual art. Building a series of multidisciplinary works to form a portrait of the Svalbard archipelago, we are creating pieces in a variety of formats which include video installation, musical performance, travelogue journal, and drawing. Carson began her writing career with appreciation of nature, turning to warning in subsequent work. Adfreeze reflects the critical moment she foreshadowed, poignantly described by Bill McKibben as "the end of Nature," this point in natural history when human activity has left an imprint on every location on the planet.
There are still many wild and remote natural places, but human culture now intersects in some small (and less small) way with each of them. Adfreeze Project is a window revealing the character and natural state of Svalbard at this moment in time.
One work in the series, Ice Notes, is a collection of writing, photography, sound, and drawing, offering a glimpse of several locations in this remote Arctic region.
– Oona Stern and Cheryl E Leonard
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Oona Stern is a visual artist whose installations create a backdrop to daily experience - art into life. She works with a range of materials from advertising posters, to construction material, to audio and video, bridging the gap between nature and culture, and bringing the outdoors to urban and private spaces. Stern has a BA from Cornell and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Public installations include "the sound of grass growing", a multimedia work at Bloomberg NY, and "meander", a landscaped 'drawing', in Huntington, NY and Bellevue, WA. deDomination, a poster project, was installed in the NYC subway in 2008. Stern's 2011 solo show, the reluctant naturalist, presented a survey of her work based on Antarctica. She is the recipient of grants from Pollock-Krasner, NYFA, Artists' Space, and Manhattan Community Arts Fund, and the NSF's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Stern lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Cheryl E. Leonard is a composer, performer and instrument builder. She investigates sounds, structures and objects from the natural world, creating works that express wild realms and our relationships to them. She uses microphones to uncover voices hidden within natural materials, and crafts musical works highlighting these sounds. Leonard holds a BA from Hampshire and an MA from Mills. Her music has been performed worldwide, and her compositions for natural-object instruments have been featured on television and in the documentary feature Noisy People. She is the recipient of grants from the NSF’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, ASCAP, American Composers Forum and Meet the Composer. She has been awarded commissions include works for Kronos Quartet, Illuminated Corridor and Michael Straus, and residencies at Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, Djerassi, Villa Montalvo, and the Arctic Circle. Her music is available from NEXMAP, Ubuibi, Pax, Apraxia, 23 Five, The Lab and Great Hoary Marmot Music. Leonard Lives in San Francisco, CA.