9 Apr 2017

Smart Talk at the Auckland Museum: Antarctica and climate change

From Smart Talk at the Auckland Museum, 4:06 pm on 9 April 2017

Multimedia artist Joseph Michael, director of the Deep South Challenge, oceanographer Dr Mike Williams, Associate Professor Sandy Morrison and entrepreneur Geoff Ross discuss the impact of Antarctica on the planet, exploring how to work together effectively to both reduce and adapt to climate change.

Noelle McCarthy is in the chair for an Auckland Arts Festival event marking Joseph Michael's installation ANTARCTICA - while you were sleeping, which brought Antarctica to life through a projection of full-scale icebergs onto the walls of the Museum building.

Geoff Ross, Associate Professor Sandy Morrison, Noelle McCarthy, Dr Mike Williams, Joseph Michael

Geoff Ross, Associate Professor Sandy Morrison, Noelle McCarthy, Dr Mike Williams, Joseph Michael Photo: Auckland Museum

When Michael was visiting Antarctica with the aim of gathering images of icebergs, it became helpful for him to individualise what he was looking at. The grandest of the floating structures he photographed was called Ernest. “It was almost like a crown,” he recalls.

“You could see it in the distance. And it was weird because you could see icebergs around, and there was this one which just had a mass to it. It was much bigger. Even though it was further away, it just sort of stuck out on the horizon. And then once we got there we circled around it."

To map the iceberg Michael and his team took quite a few thousand photographs, and sent a sound recordist in a dinghy to record closeup the sound of it. Before undertaking the project, Michael had no idea that every iceberg sounds as different as they look photographically, so the process of capturing the whole essence of it was a multimedia affair.

These photographs were knitted together electronically to provide a full 360-degree image of Ernest, which was then projected onto the Auckland Museum as part of the Auckland Arts Festival installation ANTARCTICA - while you were sleeping. The aim was to bring Antarctica to life through projections which, though still on a massive scale, were often far smaller than the original subjects.

Premiered in Auckland, the installation is to be taken on a global tour to raise awareness of Antarctica and climate change.

Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum Photo: Auckland Museum

If you would like to find out more about how 'ANTARCTICA - while you were sleeping' turned Auckland Museum into a virtual iceberg, then check out RNZ’s podcast series Voice of the Iceberg.

Noelle McCarthy, Joseph Michael, Dr Mike Williams, Assoc. Professor Sandy Morrison, Geoff Ross

Noelle McCarthy, Joseph Michael, Dr Mike Williams, Assoc. Professor Sandy Morrison, Geoff Ross Photo: Auckland Museum

About the participants:

Noelle McCarthy is a writer and broadcaster based in Auckland. She's a well-known voice on Radio New Zealand National. Her podcast series on ageing A Wrinkle in Time broke new ground for RNZ in 2016.

Noelle's written for a variety of publications in Ireland and New Zealand, including a book column for Metro magazine.

Joseph Michael creates multimedia projects which embody a magical balance of technology and fine artistry. Michael seeks out the rare and sublime in the natural world and represents it dynamically, fusing creative vision with cutting-edge technology.

Joseph’s diverse body of work has been exhibited globally, including dark cloud / white light and the Luminosity series. His latest project ANTARCTICA - while you were sleeping, debuting in 2017, projection-maps the magnificent icebergs of Antarctica onto significant buildings across the globe.

Dr Mike Williams is director of the Deep South National Science Challenge. His background is in polar oceanography. He is interested in the Southern Ocean and the ways ice can interact with the ocean, whether this is through the formation and breakup of sea ice, the melting of Antarctica’s ice shelves or the lifecycle of icebergs. Mike has travelled to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean over a dozen times.

Associate Professor Sandy Morrison (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua, Te Arawa) has spent nearly 20 years working in adult education. In 2009 she was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame. A former president of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education, she was elected global head of the International Council for Adult Education in 2015. She is principal investigator on the Deep South National Science Challenge, Te Tai Uka a Pia ‒ Iwi relationships with Antarctic and the Southern Oceans, and is Assistant Dean (Academic) at the University of Waikato.

Geoff Ross was the founder and CEO of 42 Below Vodka, which was sold to Bacardi in late 2006. Geoff is currently the chief executive officer of Moa Group and director of Trilogy International, whose brands include Trilogy, ECOYA and Goodness. Prior to 42 Below, he was a managing partner of DDB Advertising and a client service director for Saatchi & Saatchi, Wellington. Geoff is also a trustee of the Melanoma Foundation, Pure Advantage Foundation and Endangered Species Foundation. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture.

This event was part of LATE at Auckland Museum