CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The MIT Museum has opened Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya featuring the breath-taking photography of mountaineer and film maker David Breashears (through March 17, 2013), with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (www.pa2f.org)
At the heart of Rivers of Ice – a collaboration between the MIT Museum, GlacierWorks, and the Asia Society, designed by ThincDesign -- are contemporary, state-of-the-art digital photographs taken by Breashears from the same vantage points as archival photos taken a century ago. Presented in large format and viewed alongside much older images, some taken from 19th-century glass-plate negatives, these high-res images make plain the threat posed to Himalayan glaciers. Formed by the collision of continents, the massive Himalayan mountain range is of profound historic, cultural and scientific significance.
"Rivers of Ice provides visitors with a realistic, tangible understanding of the devastating consequences of climate change. Through painstaking attention to detail by comparing century-old archival images with David Breashears's stunning contemporary photographs taken from the same position and in the same season, this spectacular exhibition unmistakably documents the decline of the Himalayan glaciers that are the water reservoirs for something like four billion people," said J.B. Kelly, president of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation-USA.
In an uncanny parallel at the turn of the last century, Monaco's Prince Albert I, photographed and documented the glaciers of the north polar regions, and 100 years later in 2006, his great-great grandson, Monaco's current sovereign, Prince Albert II produced comparative research during an expedition retracing his forebear's footsteps.
To complement the Rivers of Ice exhibition, a unique installation featuring documentary footage juxtaposing both expeditions, along with the international work of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, will be on view at MIT Museum's Emerging Technology Gallery from April 13 through April 30, 2012.
The installation, an internally-lit 8ftx5ft cylinder (output is equal to just one 100W light bulb), blends cutting-edge design and energy efficiency. By combining AV and graphics, architectural elements, and an animated kaleidoscopic experience from the Hollywood-based special effects team who worked on "The Incredible Hulk" and "Spider-Man", it seamlessly projects a cool image of a hot topic.
Historic footage recounts Monaco's sovereigns from the first Prince Albert (the "Navigator Prince") who sailed the oceans in the late 1800s/early 1900s seeking ways to preserve them, through to Prince Rainier III who guided Monaco through remarkable economic and cultural change in the 20th century, into today with his son, Prince Albert II who guides conservation efforts through his Foundation. The installation also highlights three North American projects supported by the Foundation which encompass its three areas of focus:
- Biodiversity: Strengthening conservation gains across the Solomon Islands, a partnership with The American Museum of Natural History in New York;
- Climate change: Establishing new conservation landscapes in Amazonian Peru, a partnership with The Field Museum in Chicago; and
- Water resource management: Water for the people in the Honduran tropics, a partnership with One Drop of Canada
Launched in New York at the Project Globe initiative with Travel+Leisure in September 2008, this installation (in its original form as a trio of cylinders) was also exhibited at The Field Museum in Chicago in October, 2008 and in the NYC showroom of electric vehicle pioneers, TESLA Motors, in late 2010.
Commissioned by Maguy Maccario, Monaco's consul general in New York and vice president of the Foundation's US chapter, she said that Monaco has an illustrious record of environmental stewardship dating from the first Prince Albert and encompassing the reign of Prince Rainier.
"Today Prince Albert has enhanced and extended that distinguished legacy with the establishment of his Foundation -- with its huge international reach -- and by implementing many sound conservation initiatives within the principality," said Maccario.
"We also have a special cross-cultural and educational affinity with MIT with the recent (2009) visit to their campus by His Serene Highness Prince Albert and the subsequent hosting in Monaco in October 2010 of the Futurum/MIT Energy Initiative under His patronage, and the world premiere at the Monte-Carlo Opera House of Death & The Powers opera by MIT Media Lab's Tod Machover."
"Some of the exhibition's related events are proudly supported by Monaco's Consulate General and Tourist Office in New York, and provide more opportunities to advance our friendship and deepen our ties while collaborating on the vital topic of mutual interest, environmental conservation and education," she said.
Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya has been funded in part by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Farvue Foundation. The MIT Museum is open daily from 10:00am – 5:00pm (closed on major holidays). Admission: Adults: $8.50; under 18, students, and seniors: $4.00. MIT ID and children under 5: Free admission. Sundays (10:00am-Noon) and second Fridays of each month (5:00pm-8:00pm): Free admission. (http://web.mit.edu/museum/)
About the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
Launched in 2006, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation focuses on three major environmental challenges: climate change and renewable energies; biodiversity; and water resource management. The Foundation is dedicated to the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development on a global scale and supports initiatives of public and private organizations in the fields of research and studies, technological innovation and socially-aware practices. The Foundation -- with chapters in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada -- has allocated grants totaling more than $US23 million to 185+ projects around the world, specifically in the Mediterranean Basin, the Poles, and in the Least Developed Countries. (www.pa2f.org)
SOURCE Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation