Illumination of snow – the creation of environmentally engaged videos
Kurpat, Johanna (2021)
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The following study aims to find out how light on snow can be used artistically to create environmentally engaged videos that illuminate consequences of climate change in Arctic regions. The research strategy was a practice-led research in the field of Arctic Art and Design in which experimentation, exploration, observation and self-reflection were essential parts. In addition, qualitative interviews with artists helped to gain valuable insights and influenced the process. The master's thesis consists of a detailed description of the research process and a discussion of the collected data in which I refer to literature and previous research in relevant fields. During creative practice I did several experiments with projection mapping technology, artificial lights but also natural light sources that illuminated snow sculptures that were integrated into the environment. The created installations were captured through video and photography which were used to produce environmentally engaged videos. The results show possible solutions of how to create effective videos with the use of light on snow to illuminate site-specific consequences of climate change. Thereby, the sensory experience of the artistic practice but also of the winter environment of Lapland were decisive factors of the study. Relevant research data that lead to further discussion and have the potential to create an effective outcome are the integration of snow sculptures into the environment, the interaction with nature sounds and ambient sounds of the environment, the collaboration with nature, the creation of a non-human-centered perspective and the experimentation with different light forms. All these components can not only help to highlight site-specific consequences of climate change in a sensitive way, they also have the potential to create emotions and empathy with non-human lifeforms and non-living elements of nature such as snow, lichen or reindeer. Moreover, creative practices in natural environments and with the use of technology seems to lead to a contemplation about the use of energy and the carbon-footprint of the artist. Produced videos were shared on social media channels and I submitted one video to short film festivals and a selection of photographs to a photography competition to gain a wide audience.
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