At the Moraine: Envisioning the Concerns of Ice

June 18-22, 2019

Ilulissat, Greenland

At the Moraine is multi-year research project begun in 2018 on the perception, mediation and representation of glacier ice in the era of global climate change. In June 2019, we held a site-specific workshop in Ilulissat, Greenland, a community of roughly 4000 people.

A moraine is an accumulation of geological debris shaped and deposited by glaciers as they recede. The workshop positions its participants at the moraine of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Icefjord flows from the Greenland Ice Sheet which has been melting at unprecedented rates for over two decades. The workshop establishes the imperative to enrich theories of climate change – both scientific and humanities-based – with a situated perspective of the phenomenon of glacier melt. While the Ice Fjords of West Greenland are key sites of study for climate scientists who assess the mass of the Ice Sheet and the variability of its rate of melt, this workshop considers how glacier melt is mediated by conflicting epistemological standpoints.

We seek to challenge those models of climate analysis rooted in colonial history and the global resource economy that obscure the local ecology. Our gathering of scholars and artists addresses the Ilulissat Icefjord as a nexus point where the local, global and planetary concerns of ice are mediated across diverse representational activities. At the Moraine is especially attuned to the ways that glaciology has become a politically-charged and geocultural domain of inquiry that includes practices of inhabiting, sampling, picturing and coexisting with glacier ice. We therefore explore how the Icefjord conjoins a global network of Greenlandic knowledge and culture, climate science, contemporary artistic practices, and theories of political ecology in the world’s largest indigenous sovereign territory. 

Organized by:

Amanda Boetzkes (University of Guelph) and Jeff Diamanti (University of Amsterdam)