Ice in Motion: Panoramic Perspectives and Moving Pictures




The Arctic panorama has often been framed by conversations of the Victorian imperial imaginary and was originally conceived to showcase anglophone exploration, heroism, and scientific discovery. This paper explores the complementary and multifaceted visual representations of Arctic glacial ice, from the Victorian spectacle of the panorama to contemporary virtual reality technology. I look at how glaciers have been depicted, documented, and presented within panoramic media over the past two centuries. I explore how ice moves through both time and space, confronting climate histories within physical and spatiotemporal ideas of movement. Alongside the materiality of ice, I consider the modes of observation involved in creating and viewing these panoramic pictures. In making Arctic exploratory history tangible and visual, I do not seek to simply revive a sublime imaginary and document ice loss but look to the panorama as a method of engaging polar exploration and scientific discovery in the study of visual culture.