I have been photographing shapes that are appearing on ice throughout the winter. When methane is released from the bottom of a frozen lake it pierces through the thin ice and melts the snow on the surface. When the wind blows the ice sheets move and start acting like a siphon. Though there is no oxygen under the ice sheet there is still life: fish push through the ice to catch a bit of air, allowing water to emerge.
Foxes gather at these ice holes, hoping for an easy meal and leaving behind their footsteps in the snow. Sometimes the icy surface is covered in smudges which appear when the thickening ice breaks under its own weight, allowing water to leak through the cracks. These icy shapes are elusive – morphing into different shapes, disappearing under fresh snow or melting and transforming.
But science takes away from the magic of these phenomena and precludes a multitude of interpretations which our minds conjure up. With little data available, our minds look for causes in the supernatural, compelled to speculate and find ways to describe the world. With these images I am adding my small part in the construction of the mind called civillisation. I drive it like a stake through the mystery world of vampires and magical creatures. I feel like I know where the tales of E.T., the Yeti and the Burning Bush come from.
These images are part of a project about prehistoric times, when tradition, culture and meanings were recorded in people's collective imagination. When myth and reality were interconnected and when symbols and motifs were passed on through oral tradition. This is the foundation of human civilisation, whether we realise it or not.
Kacper Kowalski, 2020