Thursday, December 4, 2008

About the project

Finally, after over a decade of dreaming and two years of research, grant-writing, logistics and planning, I am going to Antarctica in about 3 weeks. Here's what I will be doing there...

I have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program to make music on the Antarctic Peninsula. My project is to create
a series of compositions based on the forces that shape environments and ecosystems in Antarctica, using only sounds from the natural world. While in Antarctica, I will play amplified natural materials such as ice, rock, water, moss, feathers, shells and bones as musical instruments. I will record compositional elements and improvisations created with these instruments, collect field recordings on the peninsula's islands and in the surrounding seas, and gather a few Antarctic natural objects that I will bring back with me to the United States to use later as instruments in live performances.

Each composition will have a unique subject matter and instrumentation. The musical structures, sound sources, and development process of each piece will reflect that work’s specific subject. Individual compositions will explore: sea and land ice, the Antarctic circumpolar current, wind and storm patterns, geological and paleontological histories, human exploration and exploitation, adaptations of life to environmental extremes, and changing terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Themes will focus on topics under current scientific investigation in the region, and highlight connections between the Antarctic Peninsula and global climate change.

Upon returning to the U.S. in February I will craft a final set of compositions from materials gathered in Antarctica. The project will culminate in a DVD release, and a series of live performances and educational presentations in late 2009.


  1. While we are all hoping you don't change the climate up there too much, we are anxiously awaiting your latest "hot music." We are also hoping (for bragging rights) that you get to use a jetski, a snow mobile, and maybe even a jetpack and a few small explosives.
    As a supporter of the "Bring the Kangaroo back to Antarctica" movement, I'm really looking forward to your 2009 educational presentations.
    Break a leg!

  2. Good clean fun !
    It reminds me when I was going to art school.
    We used to build land sculptures out of natural and un-natural objects that we would randomly find out in nature. Sometimes we would take a bolt of rope or twine and assemble objects together.We would leave the constructions for others to discover. Good clean fun Cheryl. Best, Karl