Photography is a medium of great power. It can show us things we’ve never seen before, transport us places, and capture a moment in time like an insect in amber so that we’ll be able to view it long after it’s passed. In the case of the Museum of Science and Industry’s most recent exhibit, Extreme Ice, photographer James Balog is using his extreme talent as a photographer to capture real evidence of climate change as evidenced by the retreat of the world’s glaciers.Balog is the founder and director of the Earth Vision Institute and Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), which both serve the express purpose of studying these glaciers over the course of years, in every location on Earth, and to then demonstrate what is happening. MSI teamed up with him to bring this exhibit to Chicago because they felt “responsibility to our guests, schools and communities to showcase exhibits that present complex scientific concepts in an accessible way” said Dr. Patricia Ward, the museum’s director of science and technology. And it couldn’t be simpler. The exhibit is small, but incredibly impactful. We’d recommend starting with the exhibit’s brief video, narrated by Balog himself, which explains what EIS does and shows the retreat of the glaciers in a very dynamic way on the large screen. It’s a stark, beautiful environment that’s being threatened in very real ways, and within just the few moments of the film, you get a sobering view of just how real climate change is and the damage that can be done. As you continue through the exhibit, you’ll see jagged, icy worlds leap off the walls every few inches, with interactive guides every step of the way.
Extreme Ice opened March 23rd at MSI and entry is included in the price of regular admission to the museum. Extreme Ice will run at MSI through early 2019, and we highly recommend it, as it’s one of the most affecting exhibits we’ve seen on the subject. Click here for more information.