by Steve Peters

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"WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years" is a sculptural installation by visual artist Anna McKee comprised of 3,405 glass ampules sewn to the bottoms of 678 silk panels in a long hanging row, creating a subtly swaying wave form.

Each ampule represents one meter of an ice core drilled by a team of climate scientists from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in 2012, and contains water from the corresponding section of the core; the silk panels each represent 100 years of data derived from analysis of the air bubbles and other features found in the ice core. Shifting hues hint at untold levels of information and a deep measure of time. The installation’s form is the expression of 68,000 years of temperature history from the ice sheet.

The eight channels of sound were derived entirely from a 22-minute recording of myself playing the glass ampules hanging from the bottom of the work. That recording was digitally processed in a multitude of ways, inspired by the general physical features of the ice core and the phenomena represented therein: the superficial similarities between glass and ice, the notion of a solid, static mass that was once liquid and again becomes liquid, within which are frozen countless details that comprise a record of geological time – millions of tiny air bubbles, trapped gasses, fissures, many strata of different kinds of ice, the compaction and distortion that occur over millennia.


released May 15, 2016


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Steve Peters Seattle, Washington

I make music and sound using field recordings, acoustic instruments, found/natural objects, electronics, and voices. Much of this work is site-specific or place oriented. Thank you for listening.

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