Interview with Arts Territory Exchange

In this interview for the Arts Territory Exchange blog, I discuss art, climate change and my curatorial process for Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture. Check it out!

Ice Culture : Interview with Willona Sloan
July 22, 2019

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Willona Sloan, curator & managing editor for Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture. Interview with Gudrun Filipska. 

Firstly, I really enjoyed the ICE CULTURE project and the publication. Have you always had an interest in the polar regions? What instigated the project?

Thank you so much! I have not always had an interest in the polar regions, and my interest in the topic came about only a few years ago. I live in Washington, DC, which does have snow and cold winters, but every year I become extremely upset by cold weather. It wasn’t until I did an artist residency in the Canadian Rockies at the Banff Centre for the Arts that I became remotely interested in the topic. I went in 2013, and then did a second residency there in 2014. That second time, I decided to take a day trip to the Athabasca Glacier, which is part of the Columbia Icefield in the Canadian Rockies.

That trip blew my mind, because I had never been interested in glaciers before and I became mildly obsessed with them afterwards. I visited Iceland, and did some traveling around, and again I visited a glacier. After that, I was officially hooked on the idea of doing some sort of art project related to climate change, and specifically how it affects glaciers.

For the past couple of years, I had been sort of trying to figure out how to make the project work as an idea, but when I landed on the theme of “culture,” it started to make sense for me and I got really excited. The project wasn’t about climate change science, but rather people and culture. People are connected to places, and their cultures are informed by these places.

It started as a question: What would happen to the people and places connected to ice if the ice were to melt?

I really wanted to expand the discussion of climate change as a data-driven conversation or a political conversation. It’s also a personal narrative. I felt that offering narratives that are both informative and creative could be a good way to engage people in these serious environmental issues that affect all of us, regardless of where we live.

Ultimately, I plan to tackle three additional themes with the project, Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents. The next one will be the theme of “city.”

Read the full interview here.