September 21 – December 1, 2019

Learning from Ice is a multi-year project that investigates how different knowledge practices respond to climate change. Drawing on her research into ice core science, Schuppli presents a documentary film that considers how glacial ice acts as a material witness to global warming. From volcanic ash spewed thousands of years ago, to the black carbon deposits of industrialisation and, more recently, greenhouse gases, glacial ice sheets have been systematically recording evidence of these processes.

Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art and made possible with the generous support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the British Council, and Office of Contemporary Art Norway.

Credits & Acknowledgements
Canadian Ice Core Archive, University of Alberta; Martin Sharp, Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Alison Criscitiello, Technical Director, Canadian Ice Core Lab; Anne Myers, Analyst, Canadian Ice Core Lab; Paul Jeannotte, Facilities and Operations.

Oregon State University Ice Core & Quaternary Geochemistry Lab
Edward Brook, Distinguished Professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences; Christo Buizert, Assistant Professor Geology and Geophysics; Michael Kalk, Laboratory Manager & Technician in OSU Ice Core Laboratory; James Menking, Post-doctoral student.

Research Interviews
Mike Waszkiewicz, ice core driller; Erich Osterberg, Associate Professor of Earth Science, Dartmouth College; Jeffery Severinghaus, Professor Geosciences Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego.

Additional Research Materials
Geoffrey Hargreaves, National Science Foundation – National Ice Core Facility (US), GISP2D & WAIS ice core scans; Athabasca Glacier archival images, Mary Sanseverino, Mountain Legacy Project; Mount Logan images, Erich Osterberg; Mount Oxford footage, Alison Criscitiello; Kaskawulsh Glacier drilling images, Alison Criscitiello; Belcher Glacier / IPCC evidence, field recording, Martin Sharp; Satellite images, NASA.

Production Credits
Direction: Editing & Sound; Design: Susan Schuppli; Camera 1: Henry Bradley; Camera 2: Susan Schuppli; Music: Mohamad Safa; Colour Grading: Henry Bradley.


The work of Susan Schuppli (Canadian/Swiss, lives in London, UK) explores the ways in which non-human witnesses, such as materials and objects, enter into public discourse and testify to historical events, especially those involving political violence, war crimes, and environmental conflicts. She draws on her experience as a part of the research agency Forensic Architecture in her consideration of various modes of communication from legal analysis and public advocacy to theoretical reflection and creative exploration.

Exhibition Site

259 Lake Shore Blvd East

The life of this nondescript building reveals the area’s economic history. Its first tenant in 1945, the Standard Chemical Company, produced methanol, formaldehyde, and charcoal. A railway line to the south tethered the site to the movement of goods. By 1954, the building was divided into a warehouse and a showroom, a configuration that remained intact over the course of various leaseholders, including oil and electrical supply companies and a series of car dealerships. (The advertising of its most recent tenant, Volvo, is still visible on the façade.) This building’s fate is indeterminate, as real estate development is increasingly filling the voids left by industrial decline.

259 Lake Shore Blvd East
Toronto ON
M5A 3T7