The largely diptych film draws from both Stupart’s performance and research in the Arctic as well as degraded historical film, upholding traumatized bodies as uniquely positioned to comprehend and contend with climate change. Here, the aging film’s scarring and damage manifest as a sympathetic magic which parallels that of the landscape it holds. Rather than the temporality of this demise feeling inescapably horrific, Stupart opens up the potential of transmogrification, the melted remains of the polar ice caps entering into traumatized bodies in the form of nano-particles, as a form of time travel, with the glaciers becoming a part of us, merging past, present, and future.
The subtle drips and gushes add a soft urgency. The creeping realization that the soothing sounds are in fact the harbinger of climate destruction, and in turn the release of long-frozen bacteria and viruses, mirrors the steady advancement of glacial destruction itself. In Stupart’s quintessential style, they generate both horror and hope with equal profundity, positioning them not as counterpoints but as intimately joined responses and modes of being.
Break out your best headphones. This work deserves every precious second, from the initial drips to Stupart’s haunting rendition of “Seasons in the Sun” that concludes the film.
-Aubree Penney, Curator (she/her)
Linda Stupart’s participation in An Alarming Specificity is supported by the House Fund for Distinguished Visiting Artists and Critics.