April 5-6, 2018, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University

Providence, RI… The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University presents its second public symposium on April 5-6, 2018, at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts on campus. Polar Opposites: Creative Interventions in the Arctic and Antarctica convenes an exceptional group of innovators and practitioners including artists, scientists, activists, researchers and scholars to address issues impacting the polar regions. Polar Opposites is part of the BAI’s three-year Arts & Environment program addressing a diversity of topics related to natural and manmade issues with a focus on raising awareness of and creatively addressing the impact of climate change.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

Polar Opposites is sponsored by Poseidon Expeditions, with additional support provided by the Office of the President, Lucy Commoner ’72 Endowed Collaboration Fund, and
Jill Furman ’90 Endowed Director’s Innovation Fund.

33°, an exhibition organized by and presented in the David Winton Bell Gallery that includes photo murals installed on façades of several buildings on campus, is organized in association with Polar Opposites and will be on view March 21-May 27. The symposium is a highlight of WeatherProof: Arts, Humanities, and Sciences Explore the Environment, a cluster of cross-disciplinary programming at Brown University initiated by the BAI, Bell Gallery, Cogut Institute for the Humanities, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), and John Carter Brown Library for presentation in April.

Joseph Butch Rovan, BAI faculty director and professor of music said, "Because the polar regions are experiencing visible and measurable change that radiates well beyond their territories, we are bringing together thought-leaders from a variety of fields to consider creative mitigations. Polar Opposites features individuals pursuing ways to help prevent the loss of these pristine landscapes and habitats through their artistic practice, research, advocacy, and scholarship. Others will examine the impact of climate change on the poles from policy, governance and economic perspectives. We look forward to two days of exchange and discovery."

“The symposium and WeatherProof are vibrant examples of the BAI’s core mission and Brown’s ethos: to bring together artists and other creative thinkers from a diversity of disciplines to tackle contemporary challenges,” said Anne Bergeron, BAI managing director. “The breadth of programming is designed to highlight collaborative experimentation, scholarship and problem-solving across disciplines.”
Keynote speaker David Buckland is an artist, videographer, designer, curator and writer. In 2001, he founded and continues to direct Cape Farewell, a global organization that seeks to combat climate change. Cape Farewell artists and climate scientists have been the subject of two major films, “Art from the Arctic” for the BBC and “Burning Ice” for Sundance Television, both produced by Buckland. “Burning Ice” will be screened as part of the symposium.

Other Polar Opposites presenters include Chantal Bilodeau, a playwright working at the intersection of science, policy, art and climate change in the Arctic; Amanda Lynch, Brown University professor of environmental and planetary sciences, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society director and a specialist in polar climate modeling; Petra Bachmaier, whose artwork explores light, color and perception in immersive, site-specific experience-based installations; and Jeremy M. McKenzie, LCDR U.S. Coast Guard Academy and researcher at the Center for Arctic Study and Policy.

Registration is required. Tickets are valid for 10 minutes prior to the start of each event. Standby audience will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis as space permits. For more information about the panelists' biographies and registration, go here. The schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts

Artists Talk: Bridget Baird, Judith Goldman, Brett Terry, Andrea Wollensak – Martinos Auditorium
5:30–6:30 pm

Open Waters [Northwest Passage & Polar Sea] – Cohen Gallery    
White Wanderer – Atrium Gallery
Exhibitions opening reception – Upper Lobby
6:30–7:15 pm

The Speculative Auralizations of the Anthropocene, in the Key of the Schumann Resonances – Martinos Auditorium
7:15–8:00 pm
Justin Brice Guariglia, images; Stephon Alexander, tenor saxophone; Melvin Gibbs, electric bass; Butch Rovan, alto clarinet and electronics

Friday, April 6, 2018
Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts

Registration – Granoff Center Lobby
9:00 am–9:45 am      
Opening Remarks – Martinos Auditorium
BAI faculty director and professor of music Joseph Butch Rovan
9:45 am–10:00 am    
PANEL 1: Knowing Ice
Discussion of the connections between art and science regarding practice, discipline, and representation relating to the polar regions
10:00 am–12:00 pm
Amanda Lynch, Brown University professor of earth, environment and planetary sciences; Petra Bachmaier, artist, co-founder of Luftwerk; contemporary visual artist Justin Brice Guariglia; moderator Ed Osborn, Brown University professor of visual art

PANEL 2: Art, Polarities, and Politics
Discussion of the intersections of politics, economics, and policies in ways that address the changing polar environments and shifting nature of custodianship, and how artists are bringing attention to issues that affect the regions
1:15 pm–3:15 pm
Elizabeth Corr, manager of Arts Partnerships, Natural Resources Defense Council; Jeremy M. McKenzie, LCDR U.S. Coast Guard Academy, public policy instructor and researcher, Center for Arctic Study and Policy; Chantal Bilodeau, playwright and translator; moderator Kevin P. Smith, deputy director and chief curator, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University

KEYNOTE – Martinos Auditorium
David Buckland, founder and director of Cape Farewell
Introduction by Anne Bergeron
3:45 pm–5:00 pm

Artist Talk – David Winton Bell Gallery
Jacob Kirkegaard, sound artist whose work focuses on the potential musicality in hidden sound layers in the environment (see below)
5:30 pm–6:30 pm  

Opening Reception – David Winton Bell Gallery
Suite of exhibitions featuring Danish artist and composer Jacob Kirkegaard; African American and Native American photographer Camille Seaman; and German landscape photographer Olaf Otto Becker. Photo murals by Seaman, Becker, James Balog, Jean de Pomereu, and Iain Roy will be displayed on the façades of five Brown buildings. On view through May 27. (see below)
6:30 pm–7:30 pm      

Film Screenings – Martinos Auditorium
9:30 pm–11:00 pm

“Burning Ice” (2009), 80 minutes
Directed by Peter Gilbert and produced by Cape Farewell in partnership with Cactus 3, the film documents Cape Farewell’s extraordinary expedition to Greenland in 2008. The crew of 45 included scientists, artists, and musicians including Laurie Anderson, Jarvis Crocker, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Martha Wainwright, among others. Commissioned by Sundance Television, the film reveals how artists and musicians working in partnership with scientists can inspire a re-imagining of a sustainable future.

“There Will Be Some Who Will Not Fear Even That Void” (2012), 52 minutes
Semi-fictional, sci-fi documentary, made as director Saeed Taji Farouky's love letter to the Arctic. Shot over two and a half weeks on a tall ship as it sailed around Norway's Arctic Svalbard Archipelago, the film incorporates the stories, work, and experiences of the 16 other artists aboard. Brown University visual arts faculty member Ed Osborn is featured.

Related Exhibitions

33°, David Winton Bell Gallery and Brown building façades
March 31–May 27
33° is a series of exhibitions and public artworks addressing the impact of climate change and associated threats of ice melt, sea level rise, and endangered species and ways of life. The installation in the Bell Gallery features work by Danish sound artist and composer Jacob Kirkegaard; African American and Native American photographer Camille Seaman; and German landscape photographer Olaf Otto Becker.

Kirkegaard’s 40-minute Isfald (Icefall) is a soundscape in which he uses recordings made deep underwater of calving icebergs in Greenland. Seaman’s compelling photographs approach polar landscapes and icebergs as portraiture with distinct histories and personalities. An adventurer and author as well as an artist, Becker tracks satellite imagery and hikes hundreds of miles to document new rivers being formed by rising temperatures in Greenland.

Photo murals of polar landscapes and species threatened by climate change by Seaman, Becker, James Balog (American), Jean de Pomereu (French), and Iain Roy (Scottish) will be displayed on the façades of Brown buildings around campus. The artists aim to document the beauty and destruction of these remote regions and draw attention to what is happening to elicit a call for action.

This exhibition is organized by the David Winton Bell Gallery and the Public Art Committee in association with Polar Opposites and the BAI’s Arts and Environment theme. Generous support was provided by an anonymous donor.

Virescent by Ed Osborn, Studio 2, Granoff Center
April 6: 9:00 am–10:00 pm and April 7: 12:00–6:00 pm
Ed Osborn, Brown associate professor of visual art, uses sound and video recordings and close listening to investigate site and place in his distinctive practice. Virescent (2018) documents several sites in the Arctic in both micro and macro scales, focusing on small details and broad timeframes.

This installation is presented by the BAI in association with Polar Opposites.

Brown Arts Initiative

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) seeks to cultivate creative expression and foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from each another, and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields from across the campus and around the world. Taking full advantage of the University's open curriculum, the BAI builds on Brown's reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory and practice, with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous artmaking and experimentation.

Polar Opposites is the second of the BAI's three-year programmatic themes – arts and environment – organized to address important contemporary questions; engage faculty and students across academic departments, the Providence community, and the general public; and contribute to ongoing interchange among internationally recognized artists, thought-leaders, and scholars beyond Brown.

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