This summer, I worked together with Jochem Braakhekke. He was carrying with him a yellow frame with “#recognice” written on it. He askes us to take pictures of glaciers, sea ice or other forms of ice with this frame. This, of course, triggered my curiosity and I asked him if he could tell something about his new project. This is his reply:
“Water presents itself in many forms all over our planet: from tiny glaciers on African volcanoes to gigantic ice masses, like the Antarctic ice sheet. It forms on wintry canals in Amsterdam and appears as permanently frozen tundra in Siberia. Together, all this ice forms the cryosphere, an important component of the climate system.
Our climate is changing and all over the planet, this change is expressed in different ways. However, the changing cryosphere appears to be the most tangible and most visible indicator of climate change. Over the last few decades, we have observed the ongoing retreat of nearly all glaciers across the globe and both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice have drastically declined. We believe that for people to understand glaciers and Co., they need to first be able to recognize it. Recognition is key to care, and this is especially valid for the frozen world, which remains, due to its typical inhospitality and inaccessibility, largely unknown to most people.
This is why, in January 2019, we felt the urgency to launch “Recogn.ice”, a global non-profit organization for the recognition of the cryosphere. Our young team of glaciologists, artists, journalists, and data scientists, is committed to accomplish that one mission: for people around the world to recognize, understand and ultimately care for all frozen parts of our planet.
Fortunately, the cryosphere is extremely photogenic. And, although bitter, the rapid changes occurring at the moment make the cryosphere even more interesting as a subject for visual arts. At “Recogn.ice”, we see no better way to initiate a global spark of ‘glacial awareness’ than to exploit the visual feast that this frozen planet can be. Multidisciplinary projects linking scientists and artists will result in beautiful content that attracts a wide audience, from kids to seniors.
Recogn.ice is supported by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), which gives us direct access to the most up-to-date worldwide glacier data. Our data scientists strive to present this data in attractive and intuitive ways. A recent, successful crowdfunding campaign brought us one step closer to realizing a first tangible product: Recogn.ice Picture Frames, made from steel and inviting people to pose with the glacier visible through the large, empty frame.
We believe that “Recogn.ice” can bridge the gap, or crevasse, between glacial sciences and the understanding of the general public. The ever-growing number of people taking pictures with good cameras is only one reason why we see a potential in glacial sciences to attract large audiences: booming tourism to extreme environments and a large number of people willing to share their pictures and stories with the world are two more reasons.”