Icebergs Alive!

In the first of our Ice Alive grantee blog posts, Pixel Movers and Makers present their amazing polar art and data vizualisation work. Over to you, Marlo…!

We present to you, ICEBERGS ALIVE!

We put this together one weekend late last year. One Saturday afternoon, I direct-messaged Kev via Twitter to ask him whether—if I supplied a painting of Antarctica—he could use iceberg data to create an animation that would show the flux of icebergs around Antarctica over time. And, of course, he jumped right in. (That’s what Kev does, and it’s one of numerous reasons we work so well together.) By Sunday evening, we had created Icebergs Alive.

We named it Icebergs Alive because... Antarctic icebergs… ALIVE! In truth, “Icebergs Alive” is a homage to Ice Alive, to acknowledge their significant role in helping us achieve what we have over the last year.

Who are we? We’re Marlo Garnsworthy and Kevin Pluck, an Aussie in the US and a Kiwi in the UK who met on Twitter, discovered a mutual passion for polar ice, and quickly became a team and friends. In fact, today is the one-year anniversary of us founding Pixel Movers And Makers, our joint creative science communication venture.

Mid-year, Ice Alive awarded us a grant. It not only helped fund the software we use and paid for me to go to the WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) Workshop, it gave us an enormous boost of confidence. Like-minded people could see the value in what we were attempting to do, and that was so affirming.

As well as making Icebergs Alive—which has been shown and published all over the world, from EARTHER to the Weather Channel to NASA Goddard—we’ve made a host of other polar ice- and Climate Change-inspired creations.

We made this one for the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration meeting. Each penguin is named after one of their projects.

We were also honored to present a poster about online science communication at the WAIS Workshop (a wonderful experience I have written about elsewhere).

Kev has continued to wow the Internet with his data visualizations. Not only are they informative, they are beautiful, and I’m forever astounded by his numbery-jiggery. He was long-listed for the Kantar Data is Beautiful awards and has numerous scientists clamoring to collaborate.

My work for Pixel has been a little waylaid by a book illustration job, but I continue to make icy art when I have a spare second.

I’ve also created graphics for a glaciology paper (soon to be published) and worked with other polar researchers in an editorial capacity.

Whether attending workshops, reading papers (happily supplied by our growing list of cryo-allies), or communicating with polar researchers, Kev and I have continued to learn about the cryosphere. My passion and concern for polar ice ever intensifies, and I’m certain Kev will say the same. There’s nothing I’d rather think, paint, write, talk, or make animations about. Or worry about—because we both do more than enough of that, too.

As I write this, I am on a train to New York City, from where I’ll fly to southern Chile and board the JOIDES Resolution as Education & Outreach Officer for Expedition 382, Iceberg Alley, delving into the long-term history of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Tomorrow, one of Kev’s animations with Thwaites Glacier data will be published in Rolling Stone to accompany journalist Jeff Goodell’s latest missive from NBP 19-02, as part of the THOR expedition, one of the projects in the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.

These are amazing ways to celebrate Pixel’s first birthday. We’ve come a long way over the last year, and we’re so grateful for the part Ice Alive has played in making this happen. We’re excited about what we’ll make this year!

Marlo Garnsworthy (@MarloWordyBirdy)