Bathygelidi

More information on Bathygelidi

These pieces are derivative of my pilgrimage to observe and interrogate summer water features in the ablation belt of the Greenland Ice Cap in 2014. Near the edge of the cap, the fast moving ice is heavily crevassed and thus supports almost no surface meltwater. At the top of the cap temperatures are almost never above freezing, resulting in a windy, flat icescape resembling Antarctica’s fabled polar plateau. Between these is a zone where supraglacial rivers, lakes, and moulins form annually for a few weeks. These last are vertical channels where surface water has exploited a defect in the vast ice, and melted its way to bedrock far below, swallowing rivers and lakes. Exactly what happens at the base is to this day somewhat of a mystery.

It is of importance that these lovely waters are very short lived: for the bulk of the year no liquid water is possible. The ice upon which they are resident is always moving inexorably, even in winter, toward the coast and squirming as it pases over irregularities in the bedrock below. Thus, few of the waters imitate the previous year’s presentation. This by itself has inferential significance.

Some of these pieces reference how riverine courses interact with or ignore underlying fractures in the ice itself, which are visible with great clarity even under water since this meltwater is among the purest on the planet. This also applies to supraglacial lakes.

Metaphorically, the tapestry of new energy overlying and working with older ones is fairly straightforward, especially applicable in such turbulent times in human affairs. Others in this grouping are more overtly scientific in reference. In these the composition carries through, but the material changes from stone to metal or from one metal to another. The implication is that a subject is viewed through different filters or lenses, such as visible v. infrared, or any other such observational duality. The derivative thought is that viewing or thinking about anything from different perspectives will add to comprehension.

Still others are considered to be focused in “samples” of the larger whole, with the implication that extensive observation is hugely important, but so is close-in intensive analysis as well. The metal frames are intended to hint at this limitation. All of these pieces and directions represent an effort to triangulate to as significant an understanding as possible of the meaning of the Ice Cap, in all its visual and metaphorical potentialities. Of course it is calving at its margins at a distressingly increasing rate, but for the foreseeable future the fastnesses of the huge interior ice mass will remain, to be examined and pondered over by as many receptive minds as are sufficiently fortunate to bear witness.

“Bathygelidi” is a created word from classics, as with most of my titles. It is a combination of “bathus”, a Greek word signifying high or deep, and “gelidus”, a Latin word for icy, cold. It is intended that the combination of two languages would lead to thoughts of search for understanding and meaning, with as broad a net as can be cast

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