Accepted Paper:

Cold encounter: art meets science in Arctic landscape  

Author:

Griet Scheldeman (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

A visual artist accompanies an athmospheric scientist on a fieldtrip to Svalbard, where both engage in field practices: sampling, observing, and note taking. In this paper I explore how the natural polar landscape inspires both.

Paper long abstract:

A visual artist accompanies an athmospheric scientist on a fieldtrip to Svalbard, where both engage in field practices: sampling, observing, and note taking. Back in the UK they continue their conversation as they get to work on the 'stuff' - ice samples, air particles, photographs, drawings, prints, and impressions - gathered in the polar field. The scientist engages with an Arctic environment that holds pollutants, a landmass covered in snow to be dug up, melted and filtered. The artist works in an Arctic of expansive vistas, colour hues, textures and stillness. Do scientist and artist craft a different Arctic, or do they engage with the same natural environment in a different way?

In this paper I explore how the natural polar landscape inspires both. Does it bring artist and scientist and their skilled practices together or does it divide them? While their conversations bring out differences in approach, a visit to the scientist's lab and the artist's studio flags up tangible similarities between the two. It is perhaps in this dialogue of work practices where art and science meet. Then what about the Svalbard valley where both spent two weeks observing? Is this a place of work, a subject, or the material they work with? Probably it is all three, comprising a tangible area of common ground.

Panel P07
'Natura artis magistra': nature is the teacher of artful skill