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Jane D. Marsching with Mathew Shanley
Ice Out

Ice Out detail

Between 1845 and 1853, Henry David Thoreau noted in his journals the day that Walden Pond’s winter ice cover had all but melted. As a naturalist and passionate scientist, Thoreau recorded minute observations of the landscape, weather, and fauna. His surveys of Walden Pond and surrounding Concord served conflicting purposes of dividing open spaces and deepening understanding of the ecology.

Today, the pond melts on average two weeks earlier. Ice Out, a series of five hybrid prints, visualizes the changing climate at Walden through pairing wind data mined from Thoreau’s 1847 almanac and a local Concord weather station today. The particular days chosen are derived from Thoreau’s observations of ice out on Walden Pond throughout the 1840s and contemporary observations of ice out by scientists.

Software written in collaboration with Matthew Shanley translates wind direction and force into dance steps. Wind barbs indicating footsteps overlay marks from Thoreau’s surveys and contemporary plans for a housing development named Walden Woods.

Released in 2010.