2-channel video installation by Oliver Ressler
4K videos, 23 min., 2023
Temperatures in the Arctic are rising 5-7 times faster than the global average. Svalbard, the archipelago between the Northern coast of Norway and the North Pole, has become a hotspot, perhaps the fastest overheating place on the entire planet.
The Arctic sea ice of largely uninhabited Svalbard is disappearing at a rate of roughly 13 per cent per decade. This destroys the fragile relations of mutual dependence that make life on this planet possible. In mid-summer, the Svalbard sea ice now melts almost completely. The loss of this white ice, which reflects sunlight, increases absorption of sunlight by the sea and rocks, leading in turn to rising temperatures. This effect is known as “Arctic amplification”.
Extreme warming (7-8 degrees above pre-industrial levels) thaws enormous amounts of methane, sealed through millennia into permafrost soil. The resulting greenhouse gases leak into the atmosphere, increasing temperatures further and thawing yet more permafrost soil.Chain reactions of this kind, repeated over and over again and no longer stoppable, are “climate feedback loops”.
This project is based on recordings made in Svalbard in the framework of an expedition in July 2022. The sounds of Arctic collapse in the installation serve as acoustic counterpart to the collapse of the texture of life, which has already begun.
Director and producer: Oliver Ressler
Cinematography: Oliver Ressler
Editing: Enar de Dios Rodríguez, Oliver Ressler
Text: Matthew Hyland, Oliver Ressler
Color correction: Rudolf Gottsberger
Sound design and music editing: Vinzenz Schwab
Music: As Deafness Increases (Inga Margrethe Aas, Rudolf Terland Bjørnerem, Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø)
Special thanks to: Eva la Cour, Enar de Dios Rodríguez, Marianne Lewsley-Stier, Thomas Edlinger, David McLeavy, Peter Wadhams, Lauren Wilson.
This installation was co-commissioned by Absolutely Cultured and donaufestival, and received support from BMKOES and “Barricading the Ice Sheets”, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF: AR 526).