Olafur Eliasson predicts a forthcoming “revolution” in Radio 4’s The Dying Of The Ice


BBC Radio 4

Acclaimed Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is the subject of a new BBC Radio 4 documentary (9 July), the first in a three-part series highlighting artistic responses to the Arctic environment.

The Dying Of The Ice also explores music created by those native to the wider region, as they witness the disappearing sea ice of the North Pole. The Reindeer Poets (14 July) highlights poetry, song and yoiking of the indigenous Sami people, and in Frozen Music (16 July) we meet the composers who use the ice to make music - including contributions from Jana Winderen, Norwegian based ice recording artist, and more. The Dying Of The Ice series, features the sounds of melting and retreating ice in the Arctic along with the sounds of creatures living under the ice as an active, low volume soundtrack audible throughout the programme.

Discussing environmental themes that inspire his work - a major survey of which is soon to be mounted at Tate Modern - Eliasson says: “I see another revolution on the horizon.”

Eliasson recounts historic reports linking 1788’s famine in Scotland, 1789’s French crop failure - and the subsequent revolts - to sulphur and ashes expelled at that time from the Laki volcanic fissure. He suggests that if climate change continues: “First [the glacier] Mýrdalsjökull is going to melt, then there’s going to be a volcano... and things are going to change again, so the melting of the ice to me means a new revolution.”

In terms of our awareness of the issue, Eliasson says: “I think we all understand it now with our brain and that is a big success, one could say. How to then integrate what we know into what we do is the next question.”

Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Arts, James Runcie, says: “Our environment is fundamental to us all as individuals and communities so I’m delighted that we’re bringing reactions to what is happening in the natural world onto artistic ground. In these three programmes we hear from artists across a spectrum, the likes of Eliasson who is quite rightly celebrated by the great institutions, but also indigenous voices from the areas currently most impacted by these issues. With sounds from the Arctic beautifully threaded through the programmes listeners will I hope feel transported to the ice themselves.”

TX details:

The Dying Of The Ice: Olafur Eliasson
Tuesday 9 July
11.30am - midday

The Dying Of The Ice: The Reindeer Poets
Sunday 14 July

The Dying of the Ice: Frozen Music
Tuesday 16 July
11.30 - midday

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producers: Louise Morris and Nick Romero
A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Source BBC Radio 4

July 7, 2019 8:01am ET by BBC Radio 4  

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