Hester Jiskoot is a glaciologist and Dagmar Dahle is a visual artist. Together we participated together in the “WILD_ _ NESS/WEIRD _ NESS” inquiry in Bamfield, B.C. in 2016.
Hester’s primary work as a scientist centres on the study of glaciers. She is a world expert on glacier surging, glaciers in East Greenland and has studied glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, the Arctic and the Himalayas. My work as a visual artist is primarily in drawing and painting, and entails research into natural history and social history, marrying information gathering with an intuitive, processual material practice.
As an artist and a scientist who live together, we have discussed many aspects of our respective disciplines and practices over the past decade. Always aware of the radical difference in our disciplinary frameworks, these discussions are wide ranging, sometimes taking the shape of explaining concepts and ideas to the other (a non-practitioner), sometimes finding overlapping methods and approaches to thought and process. We also share a deep connection to nature and spend time together in the wilderness. As one might expect in a conversation between a scientist and an artist, the differences are vast.
Our current collaboration begins with me fragmenting, cutting-up and reassembling some of Hester’s scientific papers, using them as raw material to be transformed into personal, poetic, intimate texts. Using methods of cut-up and free association, the texts evoke the nuances of intimate relationship, the complexity of speaking across differences, the emotional weight of living in the Anthropocene: personal, political, scientific, queer, weird, wild….. In the re-writing, I explore possibilities that emerged through chance procedures and intuitive methods, without a specific outcome in mind, using the language of the scientific paper as the raw material. We chose papers that focus on diverse glaciers and glacial processes. The writing, like most scientific papers, is dense, at times convoluted, uses specialized jargon, is often written in the passive voice and is usually incomprehensible to the non-expert reader. I re-write and pass back to Hester for her input and then we combine the texts with some of my drawings produced over the past decade. The final product for this rendering of “Writing glaciers” is the visual integration of the drawings with the poetic text, but where the drawing as well as the poetry could each also hold its own.
Scientific Papers by Dr. Hester Jiskoot (and her co-authors) used as material for “Writing Glaciers”:
Jiskoot, H, TA Fox & W Van Wychen, 2017. Flow and structure in a dendritic glacier with bedrock steps. Journal of Glaciology 63 (241), 912-928.
Jiskoot, H, D Juhlin, M Citterio & H St.Pierre, 2012. Tidewater glacier fluctuations in central East Greenland coastal and fjord regions (1980s-2005). Annals of Glaciology 53 (60), 35-44.
Jiskoot, H, 2011. Long-runout rockslide on glacier at Tsar Mountain, Canadian Rocky Mountains: potential triggers, seismic and glaciological implications. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 36 (2), 203-216.
Jiskoot, H & DT Juhlin, 2009. Surge of a small East Greenland glacier, 2001-2007, suggests Svalbard-type surge mechanism. Journal of Glaciology 55(191), 567-570.