The Byrd Center Archives Scholar Presentation will be given by Dr. Jean De Pomereu, Institute Associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute and First Recipient of the Polar Archives Award
From their earliest exploration in the 1860s up until the advent of seismic sounding in the early 1930s, the inland ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica remained largely featureless “topographies of absence” that were more easily defined by what they did not contain, as by what they did. With explorers still lacking the tools and technology to visualize what lay beneath their feet, ice sheets posed an unlikely challenge to visual representation, especially to photography. Efforts to capture and represent ice sheet’s reductive topographies resulted mostly in abstract, minimalist images that stood in marked contrast to the dominant classical cannons of the time. They also illustrate why and how the surface of ice sheets challenged different notions of place making.