16/08/2018 Interview with Klaus Thymann
Image: From the expedition to East Greenland, 2012 © Project Pressure
Interview with Klaus Thymann by Unseen Amsterdam.
“In the run-up to this year’s Unseen festival, we will be interviewing the artists behind Project Pressure’s exhibition When Records Melt. This week we caught up with the organisation’s Founder and Director, Klaus Thymann, to discuss what first drew him towards life as a scientist and the way in which Project Pressure combines scientific skill and photography to inspire behavioural change in a thought-provoking and exciting way.
Why did you become a scientist? Can you explain how your science background influenced your photographic praxis?
I never pursued higher education when I was younger as I started shooting professionally at the age of 15. But I always wanted to study. With Project Pressure, we collaborate with a lot of scientists and scientific organisations, so it seemed natural for me to study a degree in environmental science as I was reading a lot of papers and literature in the area. Having a photography background and a scientific education allows me to create projects with artistic depth and a solid scientific foundation. Art is great, but dealing with environmental issues can easily become superficial. Environmental issues are often systemic, globally influenced by multiple factors and associated with a lot of complexity. It is difficult to understand the details and even harder to communicate it; I hope my knowledge can help deliver inspiring as well as comprehensive projects.
What inspired you to found Project Pressure? You started Project Pressure in 2008. What has changed since then and what hasn’t?
I have a deep love for nature and I was getting very anxious about the lack of response to climate change. Unfortunately, scientific facts are not sexy and inviting to engage with. I was hoping to inspire people with Project Pressure to engage with the otherwise difficult subject. In the past 10 years, we have passed the point where climate change can be avoided as there is just too much CO2 in the atmosphere. It is a massive collective failure. Now we have to look at limiting further emissions but also adapting to the effects of climate change. I am not sure this will work, not sure if there is a plan B, but there is definitely no planet B. We only have this earth.
We slowly transferred to using the expression ‘climate change’ instead of ‘global warming’. What do you think the reasons are for this?
The scientific community never used the phrases interchangeably, but the reason for the current separation is the public has a better understanding of the complexity and mechanisms involved. Initially, the general public thought the only effect of climate change would be warming, but I think now with floods, fires and sea-level rising it is clear that climate change is more than just a warming of global mean temperatures, hence the use of the term ‘climate change’.
What other exciting projects do you have lined up for this year?
When Records Melt at Unseen is really just the launch of Project Pressure’s travelling exhibition; we have several venues and museums lined up for shows over the next few years. For instance, in 2019, we’ll show in Vienna at the Natural History Museum. What is really exciting about Project Pressure is how many great artists we work with, there are many more involved than the artists showing at Unseen so we can maintain an element of surprise.”
Under the title Vanishing Glaciers, Project Pressure will be presented at the Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change – Hong Kong
Walking through the museum audiences can see photographs by the artists; Corey Arnold, Michael Benson, Scott Conarroe, Peter Funch, Simon Norfolk and Klaus Thymann.
The walls are covered in full height printed canvases with glacier images shown in a saloon style layout. As you walk through the museum you pass through the seven continents, experiencing all types of glaciers be that on top of volcanoes, tidal-glaciers connecting with the sea or classic valley glaciers.
Project Pressure will also present a new way of showing comparative images, the team worked with Erik Schytt Holmlund who sourced images from 1946, 1959, 1980 and 2017 of the Tarfala Valley, Sweden and using photogrammetry created 3D models with photorealistic surfaces. In a video journey we fly through the landscape as we fade between the years and see how the glaciers are retreating.
On March 22nd 2018 at 3pm Professor Fok Tai-fai, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, will introduce Vanishing Glaciers. This is followed by a keynote titled “Using art to communicate Climate Change” by Klaus Thymann, founder of Project Pressure.
March 22nd – June 30th 2018.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm.
Closed on Wednesday, Sunday, Public Holidays and University Holidays.
Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change
Yasumoto International Academic Park 8/F
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
25/10/2017 Tracking a century of glacial change
Klaus Thymann recently visited Helagsfjället, a mountain in Sweden, to document how the area’s ice has changed over time. The mountain is home to the most southern of Sweden’s many glaciers and is part of the Scandinavian Mountains. At 1797 metres above sea level, it’s the highest mountain in the country south of the Arctic Circle – but even at this altitude its glacier is shrinking.
The purpose of Thymann’s recent trip was to create an updated comparative image for Project Pressure’s archive collaboration with World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) correspondent Per Holmlund. A glaciologist and professor in the Department of Physical Geography at Stockholm University, Dr Holmlund helped us locate a picture of Helags from 1908.
As he explains, “The 1908 pictures were taken by Fredrik Enquist who at that time was a student at Uppsala University. He had a grant from the Swedish Tourist Association to perform investigations of the glaciers in the Helags and Sylarna massif using terrestrial photogrammetry. The resulting maps, some of the photos and other information was published in a report at the Swedish geological survey in 1910. The areal change from 1908 until now is about 50% – which is significant. In general, Swedish glaciers have lost about 30% of their former extent.”
Above: the glacier’s retreat is clearly visible when comparing the images from 1908 and 2017 –
both are panoramic images stitched together from multiple exposures.
10/07/2017 Washington’s Glaciers RevisitedPeter Funch has been making repeat visits to the Cascade Range in Washington’s National Park for the last 3 years. Commissioned by Project Pressure, his artwork takes inspiration from the wealth of historic postcards accumulated over the past century depicting this area. All his expeditions have been supported by charity sponsors Rab – they spoke to Funch about how his project has developed. Read the story and see more photos here.
04/07/2017 Crowd Funding with Art of Kindness
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