Antarctic platelet study 01

O'Connor, Gabby
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Gabby O’Connor is an installation artist, educator, science communicator, Antarctic researcher and PhD candidate. She is interested in how water in all its forms moves and changes across the land and ocean. In October-November 2015 and 2016, O’Connor spent time researching sea-ice crystals while at McMurdo Station, Antarctica with oceanographers from NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

In Antarctica’s below-freezing seawater, crystals form and float up to coat the underside of existing sea ice. “This thin skin of ice is at the heart of our climate and ocean systems,” Marine Scientist Craig Stevens says. The sea ice’s reflectivity influences air temperatures globally, and the crystals house phytoplankton – the core of the Southern Ocean food web. O’Connor explains her role in the team, “I’d scoop up sea-ice platelets with a kitchen sieve tied to a bamboo pole.”

O’Connor (born 1974, Australia), has been turning art galleries into immersive, spaces responding to watery environments since 1999. She has exhibited extensively throughout Wellington and New Zealand. She often uses paper and craft techniques, and incorporates community workshops into her making process. In 2017 O’Connor was awarded a PhD scholarship at Auckland University, by the government’s Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge that enabled her to research the intersection of art, science and community education.
Inkjet print on Archival Galerie paper
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