Scaling Quelccaya

In the ongoing artist-scientist collaborative project “Scaling Quelccaya,” Chicago-based filmmaker Meredith Leich and glaciologist Andrew Malone explore how to convey the retreat of the Quelccaya Ice Cap, the world’s largest tropical glaciated area, in the Peruvian Andes.  Drawing on 30 years of satellite imagery of the Quelccaya, we have generated a virtual recreation of the glacier’s retreat using 3D animation and gaming software, which we juxtapose against the “measuring stick” of Chicago.  We seek to understand the climate changes that are happening to our world, within a more viscerally understood scale. This project has generated talks, a mini documentary, and a forth-coming documentary.

This project was supported by the 2015-16 Arts, Science & Culture Initiative Graduate Collaboration Grants from the University of Chicago and funded by the Graduate Division, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

Watch excerpts from Scaling Quelccaya here:


2016 talk from the Arts, Science & Culture Graduate Collaboration Grant Presentations at the University of Chicago:


A short documentary about the Scaling Quelccaya project:

Here is more information about the technical procedure behind the process.

from Scaling Quelccaya, rendered in Maya (3D animation software), based on satellite imagery, 2017