Tags: Francesca Galeazzi

The search for the perfect iceberg

Work in progress by Francesca Galeazzi

Yesterday for me was a roller-coaster of emotions: determination and failure, hope and fear, anticipation and disappointment. One of my projects on board consisted of an artistic response to the melting and retreat of glaciers as result of climate change. My response was to place a park bench on a newly formed iceberg or floating ice-shelf off the fast-moving coast of West Greenland. A bench which, in its fragility and remoteness, becomes a silent witness of the dramatic changes that are occurring in the Arctic. A bench with nobody to sit on.
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Busy days

So much has happened onboard and on shore these last couple of days, that I find it very hard to keep up with my blog update. Sorry sorry!!!

Since I did my Carbon Emission piece on Monday, there has been quite a lot of debate on board, especially after I read my blog Justifying bad behaviour to the group after dinner. In response to Pie and Miss Lake’s comments, a few people on board were quite upset by my gesture, they thought it was outrageous. But generally I got lots of support for what was perceived as thought provoking and courageous. What I have consequently learnt, is that we usually get upset for what we can tangibly see and feel, not necessarily for what we know. Some of my fellow voyagers were upset about my piece because they could visualise that black ‘nasty’ cylinder full of CO2 in a way that they couldn’t, if I told them that every time they drive their car for 30 miles they emit the same amount of carbon dioxide. So I wonder if the societal shift that I was advocating with my performance could be achieved if we would find a more direct way to visualise the Carbon impact of the resources we use! Any ideas?
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Justifying bad behaviour

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This morning I walked across the fresh snow with a gas cylinder in my arms, containing 6kg of CO2. I took it across the unspoiled snow field of the Jakobshavn Fjord until I found what, to my eyes, was a wonderful place.

From a little hill I could see massive icebergs impassably floating by, some of them breaking up from time to time with a loud bang. The sea below was deep grey, which made the icebergs stand up in all their beauty and fragility. The sky was a merge of pale grey and cerulean with a yellow glow just behind the skyline. Lichen and small berry plants could be felt under the powdery snow as I walked by. I thought this is perfect!
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Dogs and icebergs

What a day! We sailed during the night to reach the island of Disko, where we arrived around 9am and stopped to visit the village of Qeqertarsuaq (Godhavn in Danish). It is Sunday so all shops and activities are closed and there are only a few people around. The first visit is to the church were some of us stay for the 10am mass. Although we didn’t understand a word, being in this little warm timber church was somehow reassuring. There was a lot of singing during the mass, that made it quite enjoyable… and if I say so (one that never goes to the church) it means it was great!

Francesca on the shore in Godhavn
Francesca photographed on the shore in Godhavn.
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What can we do?

On board we have many discussions on climate change and what responses might be globally needed to mitigate its dramatic development. We also have more formal lectures, which are a great way to spark debate.

Simon Boxall and the team of scientist spoke about the facts behind the science of climate change and illustrated the scientific experiments that are going to take place in the next 10 days to measure the currents and the composition of the sea bed…
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Sighting the icebergs

Despite having known from long time that I was taking part to this exceptional voyage, it didn’t feel quite real until I met the rest of the group at the airport, all geared up, enthusiastic and probably a bit nervous. It was really hard to imagine what it was going to be like spending 10 days with such an eclectic mix of artists and scientists. What was clear from the beginning though, was the positive energy end enthusiasm of the group, the sense of urgency and ‘mission’ that everybody shared, and the spontaneous discussions on climate change and politics that sparked at any occasion.
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Boarding the Grigory Mikheev


Ryuichi Sakamoto on the zodiac transfer as we boards the Grigory Mikheev in Kangerlussuaq

Joe Smith, Marcus Brigstocke and David Noble boarding the Grigory Mikheev in Kangerlussuaq
Joe Smith, Marcus Brigstocke and David Noble

Boarding the Grigory Mikheev in Kangerlussuaq
Francesca Galeazzi and Ruth Little

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