Research Blog Antarctica #29 – 30

Documentary film: Davis Guggenheim: An Inconvenient Truth (U.S.A. 2006)

A documentary about Al Gore’s slideshow about global warming, this is a good propaganda movie hammering its points in very well. given the subject, its not surprising that Gore talks a bit about Antarctica and the melting of the icecap, and some of the stuff about the mechanisms of glacial melting were actually new to me. The Antarctic segment incorporates gorgeous helicopter-shot imagery of the continent.

Non-fiction: William L. Fox: Terra Antarctica: Looking into the Emptiest Continent (Trinity University Press, 2005)

A very good Antarctica book about the history of representation in the continent from early oil paintings to recent photography. It also includes fascinating material about the way the human brain constructs vision, and how this applies to Antarctica’s highly anomalous visual environment.

In a sense, this seems to be the kind of a book Peter Mathiessen was aiming to write when we published End of the Earth, but where Mathiessen failed, Fox succeeded. His blend of travel writing, art history and criticism and more sophisticated meditations on human cognition read beautifully, making the book as a whole eminently approachable.

Extra points for a good bibliography in the end.

Research Blog Antarctica #28

Documentary film: Werner Herzog: The Wild Blue Yonder (U.K. U.S.A. France, Germany, 2005)

Herzog’s semi-documentary science fiction fable contains a lot of footage shot underwater beneath the Antarctic ice. It’s really quite interesting, especially in terms of the colors.