It's unlikely that you'll have your hands on one of Basia Irland's Ice Books any time soon. The books are literally made of ice and my recommendations--Books XVII and XVIII—melted into the Muga River years ago. Nonetheless, I recommend BOOK XVII with its Spanish Broom seed text and BOOK XVIII with its wild fennel for the meditations on ecological restoration and duty to downstream neighbours that they give rise to.
Irland's ice books are temporal, sensual, living objects created and released in the spirit of bearing witness to human degradation of riparian zones and the climate crisis, which has serious implications for the fresh water of the world.
While Irland has traveled to many of the earth's aqueous arteries, the artist collaborates with community members to collect ice book water. People cooperate to collect water from multiple parts of a river. The collection engages the desire to restore riparian zones to health and speaks to the shared condition of living downstream.
Irland also collaborates with stream ecologists, biologists, and botanists on the Ice Books. Together they select the best seeds for the riparian zone in question. Seeds take root along river banks, help sequester carbon, hold banks in place, and shelter wildlife.
This fall, the people of Yellow Springs, Ohio will have access to a book carved from Ohio river water and inscribed with native river-side seed. Meanwhile, the rest of us have gallery showings and the crisp ice book images that festoon the author, poet, sculptor, installation artist, and activist's website.
Christine LeClerc is a Vancouver-based author and activist. Her research revolves around culture and energy. You can follow her on Twitter @xineleclerc.
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Dr. Aaron Schneider completed a PhD. in Canadian Literature at Western University where he currently teaches courses in public speaking, political rhetoric and Canadian Literature. He is excited about bringing together his interests in World and Canadian Literature. He is the co-founder and co-editor of The Rusty Toque and Western's online student journal Occasus.