Cold Case Files

cold case files

Cold case files are popularly understood as police investigations that have gone dormant when all investigative leads have run cold. Opening up a cold case file usually requires the appearance of new evidence or the advent of a new technological procedure that could shed a different light on things. With respect to global warming within cold climates, the appearance of new forms of evidence is actually a consequence of the slow disappearance of matter—the retreating of glaciers, the melting of sea ice, the reducing of surface albedo, the dissolving of snow. For too long now, the cold case files of global warming in the less-populated regions of the world such as the far North have gone unattended to. Following the injunction of Rob Nixon’s thesis of “slow violence” the challenge remains to work on all fronts, on all cases from hot to cold. From those which emerge seemingly out of the heat of the political moment to the slow burn of those that take decades and even centuries to go critical. Most importantly it is to take literally the concept of “global warming” not merely as a thermostatic condition but to reclaim it as a political demand, that is to say, to investigate the ways in which hot and cold cases meet and are even at times mutually constitutive, how, in effect, they “warm up” to each other so that the distant and remote are folded into the proximate and urgent.


snowy mtnNikel, Russia, December 2015

This research cluster is located at the intersection of a series of investigations that emerge through journeys in the field, artworks, writing, workshops, and symposia.