Learning from James Balog
I was recently watching a documentary on Richard Feyman. I was struck (again) by the ferocity of his mind, his self proclaimed “curiosity” and desire for adventure. Feynman explained with a cup of ice the failure of the O rings that led to the Challenger disaster. Feynman was also a drummer, an artist, a storyteller. We need people like this to simplify things so that we can understand them. Chasing Ice demonstrates that we have such a person in James Balog. I am sure all the climate change data and NASA reconnaissance adds up to a compelling description of global warming. But over five years of work and a searing creative vision means that in a few minutes James Balog can simply show you. His time lapse records of retreating glaciers alter your consciousness.
Balog is an artist with an artist’s perseverance and commitment. He had been witnessing the ice recede for thirty years and finally he realized he could capture that motion. He now talks to audiences all over the world about this stuff, including the men and women shaping policies in governments and the United Nations.
The film “Chasing Ice” documents the story of the creation of this work. It is a compelling portrait of the artist and a disturbing document detailing what is happening to polar ice. In his TED Talk Balog states clearly the powerful value of Art & Science coming together.
Balog’s TED Talk on the subject follows: