The visible impact of climate change in Northern California consists of careful records on increasing rainfall or measurements of species slowly shifting habitat as conditions change. But in the extremes of the arctic, change is starkly visible. Berkeley artist Christina Seely‘s current project, Markers of Time, sets out to show that change through her photography.
“It’s so obvious up here,” Seely said, speaking from Anchorage, Alaska. “We don’t have dramatic seasons in the Bay Area, but here you can see the sea ice melting. It’s direct, it’s part of life. I want to shed light on these things.”
Seely is funding her ambitious project through Kickstarter, a site that enables crowdsourcing the financing of discrete projects. She’s about halfway to her goal of $10,000 by Sunday, July 17. Funders who give at least $15 can get a variety of rewards, ranging from a postcard from Barrow, Alaska to be sent on the winter solstice to artworks donated by other artists.
“I’m able to involve people in the process of making the art [through Kickstarter],” Seely said. “It’s really nice to be able to share in this.”
Seely grew up in Berkeley and went through Berkeley schools before going away for college and graduate school. She returned to Berkeley and a teaching post at California College of the Arts (CCA) five years ago.
Seely first became inspired by the arctic on a boat trip two years ago with her mother that went through the Aleutian chain and across the Arctic Circle. She had recently finished her previous project, Lux, which documented the artificial glow produced by major cities. While that chronicled the artificial extension of daytime, in the arctic, Seely was overwhelmed by “this perpetual light”. (Some of her work from Lux can be seen on 7×9-foot banners at San Francisco City Hall in the North Light Court.)
She spent half of last year both in Alaska and in Svalbard, Norway, starting Markers of Time. She returned last semester to CCA, where she has taught photography and interdisciplinary studies for the last five years. She’s now back in Alaska for her project, which recently included a foray out to the tundra to see snowy owl nesting sites.
Seely explains her project and makes her Kickstarter appeal in the video below: