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Lisa Lipton: Life and Love on a Melting Ice Cap

In most fairytales, it is an evil witch or wizard that threatens the “happily ever after” ending. But in Lisa Lipton’s new multimedia installation, “High on a Hill” at the Eastern Edge Gallery until April 19, global warming plays the antagonist in a tale of a pair of Alpine lovers whose clichéd romance is threatened by melting ice caps. Known for her preoccupation with capturing ephemeral and uncanny images through sound and video, Lipton’s recent project documents a series of tableaux featuring extravagantly costumed and masked characters frolicking in an icy landscape. Lipton’s new media mash-up–equal parts Disney cartoon and Greenpeace infomercial–aims to juxtapose environmental realities with fantastical Hollywood imagery in order to “disrupt naïve utopian ideologies and address issues of climate change.” But implicit in this format is a belief that something can still be done to alter the snowballing forces of global warming. Fairytales are cautionary tales, after all, meant to perpetuate cultural knowledge. Perhaps, by inserting the gargantuan issue of climate change into this recognizable narrative format, Lipton hopes to reframe it as a serious but conquerable arch nemesis. After all, isn’t everyone looking for a happy ending?

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