Scaling Quelccaya

In the ongoing artist-scientist collaborative project “Scaling Quelccaya,” glaciologist Andrew Malone and I explore visual strategies for conveying 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 are juxtaposing 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 is 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).

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


from Scaling Quelccaya, rendered in Maya (3D animation software), based on satellite imagery, 2016

Talk from the Arts, Science & Culture Graduate Collaboration Grant Presentations at the University of Chicago
A short documentary about the Scaling Quelccaya project