CCA presents ice sculptures and photography by Basia Irland in their spector ripps project space.
Irland continues her series of hand-carved ice books, which are embedded with local native riparian seeds and gifted to rivers, the arteries of our land. receding/reseeding emphasizes the necessity of communal effort and scientific knowledge to deal with the complex issues of climate disruption and pollution of watersheds. For some of these ice books, water is gathered from a local river by participants, who add it to a canteen, and hand it to others who collect more creek water, illuminating the point that we all live downstream and are all connected.
This gathered river water is then frozen, carved into the form of an open or closed book, and placed back into the stream. The closed books have seed patterns on the covers. Embedded in rows in the ice of the open books is an ‘ecological language’ or riparian ‘text’ consisting of local native seeds, which are released as the ice melts in the current.
Irland works with stream ecologists, river restoration biologists, and botanists to discover the best seeds for each specific riparian zone. When the plants regenerate and grow along the bank they help sequester carbon, hold the banks in place, and provide shelter. Where the seeds choose to plant themselves is serendipitous, replicating the way seeds get planted in nature.
She has produced a film about these projects, showing ice books being launched into rivers in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and across the United States as seeds are released into raging streams borne of glacier melt in Washington State or springs in Missouri or languid creeks in North Carolina or the chocolate-red waters of New Mexico.