Category Archives: Icebergs

SPWS & Observatory present Charles Stankievech, 5/20/12

Sunday, May 20th, 7 PM
SP Weather Station and Observatory present:

Over the Rainbow, Under the Radar:
Electromagnetic Infrastructure and Outpost Architecture in the Arctic
Lecture and audiovisual presentation by Charles Stankievech

Image: Das Eismeer aus Licht, NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day, Feb 8, 2011. © Charles Stankievech + Anna Sophie Springer, 2011

543 Union Street at Nevins Street, Brooklyn (directions below)
$5 suggested donation

Over the Rainbow, Under the Radar is an audiovisual presentation of Charles Stankievech’s experience of the Arctic as a hybrid zone of brute reality and fantasy projection. Combining archival material, scientific theories, geopolitical maps and the artist’s own fieldworks, the lecture engages ideas of military colonialism and communication technology embedded in the sublime landscape. Stemming from Stankievech’s time living in Northern Canada and travelling to remote military outposts, Over the Rainbow draws from primary research ranging from his visit to the archives at Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology as well as a residency with the Canadian Department of National Defense at the northernmost settlement in the world (the Signals Intelligence Station ALERT). The resulting material includes images and video taken by the artist published by NASA and commissioned by the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, as well as shown in museums and galleries from Palais de Toyko, Paris to the Musee d’art Contemporain in Montréal. The lecture was originally commissioned for the Phyllis Lambert Seminar 2011 at Université de Montréal.

About Charles Stankievech:
Charles Stankievech is an artist who creates “fieldworks.” His diverse body of work has been shown at such places as the Palais de Toyko (Paris), International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA2010, Germany), Xth Biennale of Architecture(Venice), Eyebeam + ISSUE Project Room (New York), the Musee d’art contemporain Montreal and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. He has curated such unorthodox exhibitions as Magnetic NorthsA Wake For St. Kippenberger’s MetroNet, and the series OVER THE WIRE with Lawrence Weiner, Gary Hill, Tim Hecker, Centre for Land Use Interpretation, Lize Mogel and others. His writings have been included in academic journals, such as Leonardo Music Journal (MIT Press) and 306090(Princeton Architectural Press), artist’s catalogues and translated into several languages. Stankievech holds an MFA in Open Media with a thesis on sound and architecture and a previous critical theory thesis on Slavoj Žižek and Franz Kafka. He currently is artist-in-residence with the Canadian Department of National Defense with a sortie to CFS ALERT—northernmost settlement in the world and active signals intelligence station. Upcoming projects include a public art commission by the government of Washington, D.C., the exhibition Oh, Canada at MASSMoCA, and artist-in-residence at Marfa, Texas. A founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City, Stankievech splits his spacetime between the Yukon and Berlin.

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Iceberg Song

From Discovery News:

April 18, 2008 — The grinding together of vast Antarctic icebergs in the Ross Sea creates a growling subsonic song that seismologists compare to the ringing of a wine glass.

The newly discovered iceberg song has been detected traveling through the ground and oceans.

The discovery began when seismologists at ocean listening stations as far north as French Polynesia stumbled onto an unexplained, high-frequency tremor signal that lasted anywhere from two minutes to three hours.

“They range from harmonic to chaotic,” said geophysicist Rick Aster of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Aster spoke about the discovery Wednesday at the meeting of the Seismological Society of America in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

By combining the data with satellite images, the researchers quickly found the apparent source: a king-sized iceberg called C16.

If the iceberg was in fact making the sounds, the seismologists had three questions: 1) Is the entire iceberg vibrating to make the sound, like a violin? 2) Is the sound caused by fluids surging through cracks or tunnels in the iceberg, like air blown in a flute? 3) Is it something else entirely?

To find out, a team led by seismologist Emil Okal of Northwestern University undertook what he and colleagues called Project Southberg, to plant some seismometers on the iceberg and listen in.

The signals from the iceberg seismometers were much stronger, Aster said. Some had remarkably clear harmonics. Applying the same techniques used to locate earthquakes epicenters, the researchers located the spot where the sounds was being made — right where the Jamaica-sized iceberg B15 was grinding against C16.

“We got very lucky,” said Aster. “One station was within two kilometers (1.2 miles) of the source.”

The clearer signals and the source location made it clear that the icebergs were being played like fiddles — by rapid slipping and sticking in the collision zone where the icebergs were sawing back and forth.

“It’s tens of thousands of small ice quakes,” Aster said. That iceberg song, then, is similar to what a violin bow does on a string. The sound propagates through the water, from the water to the seafloor, and onward through the ground, Aster explained.

Okal later compared the vibrations to those of a finger “ringing” a wine glass — also a slip and stick process — and found them to be very similar.

“It’s a spectacular signal,” agreed seismologist Greg Berozaof Stanford University, who was among the audience for the presentation.