I referred to the catastrophic consequences of climate change in my last post about Living Coral, Pantone’s 2019 Colour of the Year, so it felt appropriate to share some of the images, and a beautiful video, of ‘Ice Watch‘, a provocative installation by the extraordinary Studio Olafur Eliasson in collaboration with geologist Minik Rosing… a poignant visual statement about something that’s very much happening on our watch.
As Eliasson says: ‘It’s clear that we have only a short period of time to limit the extreme effects of climate change. By enabling people to experience and actually touch the blocks of ice in this project, I hope we will connect people to their surroundings in a deeper way and inspire radical change. We must recognise that together we have the power to take individual actions and to push for systemic change. Let’s transform climate knowledge into climate action.’
Video by Frank Haugwitz and Jørgen Chemnitz on behalf of Studio Olafur Eliasson
A commentary on climate change, the installation was launched to coincide with a meeting of world leaders at the COP24 climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, which follows the landmark report published this October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warning that we have only 12 years to limit the worst effects of climate change.
The installation is in two parts: 24 blocks of ice sourced from the waters of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland, where they were melting into the ocean having been lost from the ice sheet. They are arranged in a circular formation on Bankside outside Tate Modern, (where a major exhibition of Eliasson’s work will open in July 2019), and a further six blocks are on display in the heart of the City of London outside the European headquarters of event sponsors, Bloomberg. The idea is that as the ice gradually melts, “members of the public will have an opportunity to encounter the tangible effects of climate change”.
Depending on weather conditions, Ice Watch is expected to be on view in London until 21 December 2018. Any remaining ice will then be taken to local community and cultural institutions as part of an extended educational programme.
Olafur Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in “perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self,” Art, for him, is “a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world”. Well-known for his 2003 installation ‘The weather project’, at Tate Modern London, which was seen by over two million visitors, Eliasson works in a range of media that spans sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installation. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery, his practice engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in civic space, arts education, policymaking, and issues of sustainability and climate change. In 2012, Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen founded the social business Little Sun, which encourages sustainable development through sales of Little Sun solar-powered lamps and chargers (littlesun.com). Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann founded Studio Other Spaces, an international office for art and architecture, in Berlin in 2014 (studiootherspaces.net). Eliasson’s work ‘Your double-lighthouse projection’ (2002) will be on display at Tate Modern from 17 December 2018 to 3 February 2019, leading up to a major exhibition of his work opening at the museum on 11 July 2019. olafureliasson.net
Minik Thorleif Rosing
Professor of geology at the Natural History Museum of Denmark at Copenhagen University, he has participated in the geological exploration of Greenland and is world famous for having backdated the origin of life on Earth by several hundred million years.
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