Beethoven’s “Pastoral” and Polar Research | Polarjournal
Art and science celebrate frozen landscapes and their connection to us (Photo: Alfred Wegener Institute / Robert Ricker)

On Sunday, September 5, 2021, a symposium on the Franco-German cooperation in polar research and art will be held at the Bremen University of the Arts Speicher XI, starting at 14:00. In the run-up to the evening performance of Ludwig von Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” at the BLG Forum as part of the Bremen Music Festival, art and science will celebrate the icy worlds with a joint event streamed online.

In collaboration with the French “Polar Summer” (“Eté polaire”), a series of events in 26 French cities, artists from the series as well as those involved in the evening concert will participate in the symposium. They want to draw attention to how humans are changing the planet and what special landscapes and creatures need to be appreciated.

Award-winning polar photography is on display – taken, among others, by AWI photographer Esther Horvath on the MOSAiC expedition in the Arctic. And just as Beethoven tried to set the nightingale to music, art and science meet to give a stage to the sounds of whales, ice and seals. A live link to the staff of the German-French AWIPEV research station on Svalbard is the direct link to the Arctic.

The performance of Beethoven’s “Pastorale” will be musically performed by Laurence Equilbey and the Insula Orchestra. The Catalan theatre collective “La Fura dels Baus” under Carlus Padrissa will visually stage the whole concert as a storm on the senses. Image: Marie Guilloux

The head of the AWI, Professor Antje Boetius, explains: “As a polar and marine researcher, I am always deeply moved by the beautiful dramatic landscapes of ice-covered oceans. We have so much to discover, so much to cherish on this planet that is our home. From this nature comes so much inspiration for science and the arts. But now we are exactly at the tipping point asking the question of how the polar systems will evolve with the strong climate change and what effects we should expect. Our human actions are the cause of overheating and pollution, so it has become so urgent to find a new balance with nature, including its beautiful white habitats, which we want to celebrate with the symposium and concert in Bremen and in the livestream.”

The program of the symposium, which will be held prior to the performance, is as follows:

Moderation: Antje Boetius (Director Alfred Wegener Institute) and Thomas Albert (Director Musikfest Bremen)

14:00 Opening
With greetings from the mayor Andreas Bovenschulte and the cultural attachée Karin Fouledeau from the French embassy in Germany.

14:15 h: Nature – Culture – Future
Art facing global warming!

A panel discussion with:

  • Laurence Equilbay (Conductor Insula Orchestra)
  • Carlus Padrissa (Director Theatre Fura dels Baus)
  • Antje Boetius (Director Alfred Wegener Institute)

moderated by Ashok Adiceam (curator Eté Polaire) and Thomas Albert (artistic director Musikfest Bremen)

14:45 Polar life and us
Antje Boetius, polar researcher and director of the Alfred Wegener Institute

15:00 Eté Polaire – Polar activities during the French summer 2021
Mikaa Mered, Head of Eté Polaire

15:15: An Arctic View on Climate Science and Music
Live from the German-French research station AWIPEV:
Gregory Tran (station manager) and Fieke Rader (observatory engineer)

15:30 – 15:50 Break

15:50 Polar life and landscapes through the lens of photography
Esther Horvath, documentary photographer

16:10 The Sound of Polar Seascapes
Elena Schall, Climate Scientist Alfred Wegener Institute

16:25 Closing words

16:35 End

In the Arctic and Antarctic, nature provides a spectacle with a unique interplay of colours, shapes and sounds. An equally great spectacle awaits the spectators on Sunday, paired with a great deal of first-hand knowledge from the experts at the AWI. Picture: Michael Wenger

Press release Alfred Wegener Institute

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