Breaking the Ice London event 6th March:
a presentation of the project, its journey and its wider context and a conversation between Kjetil Berge and Kat Austen, scientist, writer and editor of New Scientist's CultureLab.
‘Breaking the Ice’ was a willfully absurd journey – taking ice cream, via an unnecessarily elaborate route, far into the arctic circle in mid winter in a fossil-fuel burning Ice Cream Van designed for summer days in England, as a platform for discussions on global warming. Its paradoxical nature is meant to confront our collective disavowal of impending crises and it is also a journey to one of the front lines of climate change where its effects are already being felt. At the same time it celebrates our sometimes-absurd capacity for optimism.
Contemporary artist Kjetil Berge in conversation with curator, scientist and editor for New Scientist's CultureLab, Kat Austen
6th March 2013
‘Breaking the Ice’ is a commissioned project by contemporary visual artist Kjetil Berge for North Norwegian Art Centre (Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter) in the occasion of Barents Spektakel 2013 – Norway’s border-crossing festival.
Kjetil Berge drove an ice cream van from London to Kirkenes via Murmansk. This involved a huge diversion across Eastern Europe and up through the remote Northern regions of Russia. Along the way, he exchanged ice creams for a chat about the weather with the people he met. Read about the project here
www.breaking-the-ice.net www.kberge.com/work.html www.barentsspektakel.no/en/about www.nnks.no
The Royal Norwegian Embassy London
Photos by Julien Bonnin for NABROAD ©2013 (All rights reserved).
Biography, Kat Austen
Kat Austen is a succession of experiences and an assemblage of aspirations. She has always been drawn to the natural environment, and has a long history of immersing herself in it entirely by riding her bike into bodies of water. While this may have resonated with her research on water pollution, it probably didn’t inform it that much. What informed it more was 8 years of study as a chemist, first as a PhD student at the Royal Institution of Great Britain and then as a postdoc at the University of Cambridge, where Kat investigated the behaviour of pollutants in solution, using computational methods.
The environment is her passion, and Kat's interest is largely held by finding ways to understand existence in all its complexity - from the origin of thought to the contents of them, to the global networks that keep human endeavors supplied to the ocean currents that shape the earth.
Kat is now turning her hand to plastic pollution in the Antarctic waters as part of an expedition to the island of South Georgia with The Clipperton Project. She is also participating with the expedition as an artist. Working with mixed media, integrating sculpture with digital tools, Kat has been exhibiting since 2007. She has also been artist in residence for a number of spoken word groups, creating live conceptual illustrations and paintings inspired by the poetry performances.
Aside from expressing herself through visual art, Kat employs other media. Alongside scientific research papers, Kat is working on the text for two books, one on art-science and one on history and philosophy of science. She edits New Scientist's CultureLab section, has recently co-founded art and architecture blog context | independent, and writes, speaks and consults internationally on art, science and culture.
Community, digitisation, collaboration, transdisciplinarity and democratisation all link together for Kat. While at Cambridge she co-founded Scispace.com, an early web2.0 networking website to facilitate cross-disciplinary scientific collaboration, and she now works actively on understanding and facilitating the dialogue between practitioners from different fields, because communicating well is the key to working together for a humane, environmentally kind future.