Mozart on ice - Music as Anthropocene artifact in Expedition to the End of the World
- Side: 38-47
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.18261/issn.1891-5760-2016-01-02-05
- Publisert på Idunn: 2017-02-23
- Publisert: 2017-02-23
In the Danish environmental documentary Ekspeditionen til verdens ende (Expedition to the End of the World, 2013), music from Mozart’s Requiem sounds several times as Greenland’s melting ice and swelling ocean fill the screen. This recording is not mere Anthropocene ambience, however; the performance, captured in a church in Copenhagen, sounds surprisingly provisional and fragile. Unlike the rhapsodic-atmospheric use of music in Werner Herzog’s environmental films, recent climate-science documentaries like Chasing Ice and Ice and the Sky, or sentimental viral videos of Arctic piano playing, the Mozart fragments in Daniel Dencik’s film sound as contingent material artifacts of human presence in a rapidly dissolving visual landscape. Apparently clumsy interruption and closed caption-style paratext amplify this critical distance, a refreshing disturbance in a sea of smoothly mediated elegiac nature films. Ultimately, Expedition to the End of the World illuminates global warming as the «hyperobject» that Timothy Morton argues is difficult to reduce to cognitively manageable dimensions; roundabout commentary and the music’s own slippery codes mirror this difficulty, further complicating a film that refuses reduction to an activist or aesthetic-philosophical position.