88 Cores

Original Score for 88 Cores by Peggy Weil
Exhibited at the Climate Museum (NY), Fordham University (NY), UC Irvine (CA), CU University Art Museum (CO), The Philbrook Downtown (OK)

“88 Cores descends two miles through the Greenland Ice Sheet in one continuous pan dating back more than 110,000 years in time. These cores were drilled between 1989-1993 as part of the the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP2), sponsored by The National Science Foundation.

The variation in appearance over the 88 cores in this film is due to several factors: the coarser grained snow and firn (dense snow) closer to the surface are compressed into layers of ice as a function of depth. Visible banding, dust and debris are indicators of seasonal variation and regional conditions. Size and shape varies according to the condition of an individual core section; the ice may be fragmented or broken; or portions distributed to labs for analysis. The scanned images reflect over a decade of evolution in imaging technology between 2004 and 2017.

The variation and fragility of the excavated cores echo the vulnerability of polar ice as the Earth warms. The pace and scale of the piece is a gesture towards the immense scale and gravity of climate change.”
-Peggy Weil

Notes on the original score:
88 cores follows ice cores underground and back in time. Perhaps time is more linear and asymmetrical on the scale of human perception but more cyclical and symmetrical on a massive scale, one that we can comprehend but can’t easily perceive.

88 cores uses a linear approach, scrolling from top to bottom, as a type of temporal section cut. Reading this section cut suggests that there is a beginning and an end, but what came before and what will come after? Will the near future be like the distant past? And whose future, whose past? The one belonging to the ice, or the humans, or the Earth? Although ice is one of the most direct demonstrations of climate change, scrolling through this scale of time is a reminder of continuous and accumulating changes.

This piece of music is both cyclical and linear; it is propelled by small, evolving loops and downward sloping glissando drones, but is continuously slowing down at an even rate over the course of 4.5 hours. It is a system of small spinning parts that gradually decelerates and expands over time.