Back in the pre-pandemic times of 2019, Exploratorium visitors were invited to the Fisher Bay Observatory to chat live with scientists, students and historians in the first-ever interactive broadcasts from an Arctic expedition. We followed along as a science and film crew on the Swedish icebreaker Oden documented changes in ocean currents, ice floes and wildlife and visited an Inuit village to learn about their resilient culture and discuss how climate change is impacting the daily lives of Arctic people.
This extraordinary expedition, led by the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography and funded by the National Science Foundation, was documented by a film crew that was as focused on the human stories as the science. The result, Frozen Obsession, is a gorgeous film using the latest technologies of underwater and airborne drones to bring audiences along on the journey and doesn’t shy away from telling the stark truths of climate change impacts on the ecosystems and people of the Arctic.
The Exploratorium jumped on the chance to host the online world premiere of Frozen Obsession and I led a discussion afterwards with four of the film’s participants: Francis Crable, a graduate student from the University of Illinois at Chicago; David Clark, director and writer of Frozen Obsession; Hester Blum, Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University; and Donglai Gong, a physical oceanographer at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. We had a wide-ranging conversation about the sacrifices and triumphs of Arctic exploration, both past and present, the thrills and exhausting labor of doing polar science, and the urgent need to address climate change now and for future generations.
In case you missed the premiere, there are additional opportunities to see Frozen Obsession live streams from a showing of the full 100-minute version of the film on February 12, 2021 at the RVA Environmental Film Festival and additional showings of the shortened version later in February and the first week of March 2021.