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Moving Ice

Norwegian premiere and conversation with Susan Schuppli
Susan svalbard

BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts and Kunstnernes Hus are proud to present the Norwegian premiere of Susan Schuppli’s essay film Moving Ice. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Schuppli and Åse Løvgren.

About the film

Ice has always moved, but is now moving faster than ever, as anthropogenic factors accelerate climatic changes. The Earth is burning up, and ice is on the move. However, in the early 1800s colonialism and capitalism had already joined forces to move ice. Not as an unforeseen consequence of industrialization – which we now recognise as a key accelerator of atmospheric warming – but as a commodity in and of itself. This came to be known as the "frozen water trade", a trans-hemispheric commerce in natural ice that moved its crystal cargo along the well-established shipping routes of plantation economies and the spice trade. This film tells the story of how European and American merchants tried to cool the tropics through the financialisation of temperature, shipping natural ice extracted from glaciers and winter lakes to colonial elites around the world.

Moving Ice collects stories of the frozen water trade in places like Folgefonna and Svartisen in Norway, the US and India, and it looks at traces from the historical ice trade together with contemporary practices with ice.

About the filmmaker

Susan Schuppli is a researcher and artist based in the UK whose work examines material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters and climate change. Current work is focused on learning from ice and the politics of cold. Creative projects have been exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the US. She has published widely within the context of media and politics and is author of the book, Material Witness published by MIT Press in 2020. Schuppli is Professor and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London where she is also an affiliate artist-researcher and Board Chair of Forensic Architecture.

Åse Løvgren is a visual artist and works as a project developer at BEK. Her practice examines how geopolitical connections leave material, historical and political traces in her immediate local landscape. Using these as prisms, she looks at how they connect to an international economy that involves natural destruction and social inequality.

BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts – is an interdisciplinary production centre for art and technology. BEK develops, produces and showcases projects in the intersection of contemporary art, technology, theory and social critique. BEK organises practical and theoretical workshops on artistic use of technology and offers advice and production support to artists. In its studios and production facilities, BEK hosts residencies for artists, focussing on artistic research and experimenting. BEK's discursive programme explores ethical and political aspects of technological development.

Moving Ice is commissioned by BEK and Sonic Acts. The world premiere took place in Eye Filmmuseum as part of Sonic Acts Biennial 2024. Moving Ice is part of New Perspectives for Action, a project by Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the European Union. The project is supported by Arts Council Norway and the artistic research project Illuminating the Non-Representable, at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen.

See also