UVA's High Arctic documents disappearing world
UVA's High Arctic installation at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich invites visitors to explore the disappearing landscape of the frozen north: one of three new digital works at the museum that include projects from The Light Surgeons and Kin
The National Maritime Museum opened its new Sammy Ofer Wing last week. The £35 million project creates a new entrance to the museum as well as a large temporary exhibition space in the basement. That space is currently occupied by High Arctic, “a monument to the Arctic past set 100 years in the future,” according to its creators United Visual Artists.
The installation consists of 3000 columns, each bearing the name of a Svalbard glacier which will supposedly disappear due to climate change. Visitors use a UV torch to activate the names and a series of reactive projections in the 820 square metre space. In addition, poems by Nick Drake tell the story of our relationship with the Arctic since the first explorers went there in the 4th century.
It was created in response to a visit to Svalbard by UVA's Matt Clark in September 2010 with the arts and climate science foundation Cape Farewell. Clark sailed around the region on a 100-year old schooner in the company of various artists, musicians and scientists (for more on Cape Farewell's work, see here).
High Arctic is on until January 13, 2012.
Elsewhere in the new wing are two permanent digital installations. The Light Surgeons' Voyagers: The Wave acts as a kind of title sequence for the museum, displaying 300 metatagged images from its archive along with text that alludes to its key themes across a structure of 26 triangular facets and a 'Puffersphere' display.
Also seeking to get visitors interested in the museum archives in the Compass Lounge, created by Kin. Here visitors can use a giant trackball to scroll through themed collections of 4000 images of naval uniforms, paintings, boats, medals, coins and flags (personally I would have liked some captions with these). In the 'plan-chest' area, drawers contain touchscreens via which visitors can access the most searched for and most viewed images in the museum's collections.
There is also the Compass Card, a credit card-sized piece of paper bearing a unique barcode. As visitors move through the museum they can 'collect' objects that interest them by inserting the card into a series of special units and stamping it. The visitor will then be sent an e-book containing images of the objects.
All of which gives what was previously one of the less exciting options among London's competing museums a much-needed digital shot in the arm.
High Arctic photographs: John Adrian
CR in Print
Thanks for reading the CR Blog but, if you're not also getting the printed magazine, we think you are missing out. This month's bumper July issue contains 60 pages of great images in our Illustration Annual plus features on Chris Milk, Friends With You and the Coca-Cola archive.
If you would like to buy this issue and are based in the UK, you can search for your nearest stockist here. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 292 3703 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine and get Monograph.
I'm with you on the captions thing. The digital interfaces in the new Glasgow Transport Museum make you scroll about and select a ship, etc. before showing you the name. It is interactive but doesn't add much.
Would save time if captions came up automatically. I saw a few older guys give up trying to work the touchscreen. Sorry, don't know who designed them. It's still good overall - some other decent displays but it's more about the real vehicles. Plus the new Riverside building is pretty stunning (by Zaha Hadid).
The new Sammy Ofer wing of the Maritme Museum is the best thing that has happened to Greenwich for ages!
Its architecture blends in so well with its surroundings, complementing the existing museum buildings. My young children especially love the water features.
The Architects and the NMM must be applauded.
It’s a real shame that the The University of Greenwich School of Architecture didn’t get an architect to design their new campus as well as this.
|How can we improve the CR iPad app? (3)|
|The billboard turning thin air into water (6)|
|Virgin Records celebrates 40 years of disruption (3)|
|Propaganda: Power and Persuasion (2)|
|Station symbols a secret delight (7)|
|The billboard turning thin air into water|
|Step into my cardboard office...|
|Paul Arden: a true maverick|
|Image Duplicator: pop art's comic debt|