Ice Watch

Ice Watch

Place du Panthéon. Paris, France
December 3-13, 2015
12 ice blocks

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson worked in collaboration with geologist Minik Rosing to develop Ice Watch, 2015; an installation of free-floating glacial ice ‘harvested’ from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland. Twelve immense blocks of compressed snow were collected by heavy cranes and transported via shipping container from the Davis Strait to Denmark, then driven 10-hours by refrigerated container to Paris, France. Upon arrival, the monumental blocks were assembled in a circular, clock-like formation in front of Place du Panthéon. 

This public exhibition of mammoth blue icebergs weighs over 80 tons and is over 65 feet in circumference. Ice Watch, 2015 is designed to raise awareness on the increase in global temperatures, the rising sea levels, and other relevant dangers of our warming planet. The sea is losing approximately 1,000 such blocks of ice per second. Estimated at 200 to 300 billion tons each year, this loss of glacier ice affects global sea levels, causing them to steadily rise. Climate change is a reality, and it is through Ice Watch, 2015 global warming is made tangible.

Trailer produced by Bloomberg Philanthropies
   
  
 
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   All images are courtesy of the artist’s  website . 

All images are courtesy of the artist’s website

Ice Watch, 2015 enables the viewer to touch the ice, and be touched by the ice. Passersby can intimately experience the effects of climate change on our ecology by interacting with the glaciers in ways never before possible. The evaporation of the ice into their hands, forming puddles of water and wet pavement below, serves as a reminder that with each passing minute the artwork is affected not only by global warming but the direct actions of our human behavior. Ice Watch, 2015 allows the viewer to better visualize the scientific data; bringing scientific fact to life. Viewers are forced to acknowledge their involvement in the rapid transformation of nature’s art to nothing. These forms give voice to the silent disappearance of Arctic ice, encouraging the general public to become active participants in climate change initiatives.

   
  
 
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   All images are courtesy of the artist’s  website . 

All images are courtesy of the artist’s website

  All images are courtesy of the artist’s   website  . 

All images are courtesy of the artist’s website

  All images are courtesy of the artist’s   website  . 

All images are courtesy of the artist’s website

Ice Watch was originally presented in Copenhagen to coincide with the publication of the UN IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change. For Ice Watch, 2015, Eliasson used the platform of the UN Climate Conference COP21 to raise public awareness of our current environmental crisis. The glacial ice provides a solid visual representation of the complex ecological data, directly demonstrating the reality of climate change and global warming.

“In our contemporary ecological emergency, there’s a lot of data, but at this point we’re dumping ecological data on ourselves. It’s not helping. We don’t need to be doing that for one more minute. Olafur is putting pieces of ice there and saying, ‘Let’s try to start a conversation.’” – Timothy Morton. Zarin, Cynthia (2015, December 5) The New Yorker – The Artist Who is Bringing Icebergs to Paris.

Eliasson is well known for his impactful sculptures and large-scale installations of water, light, and air temperature. His work tackles global problems with sensible solutions, evoking both compassion and empathy. In 2003, Olafur Eliasson developed the The Weather Project. This installation utilized representations of the sun, sky and a warming mist to change the atmosphere of Turbine Hall in Tate Modern, London. The viewer was able to experience the elements of weather, but do so indoors. Both The Weather Project and Ice Watch, 2015, bring nature to the viewer in a new and different way. Within this new perspective there is space to contemplate science and time to reflect on the world, our climate, and the things around us.

 Photo: Tate,  London

Photo: Tate, London

“Eliasson’s impressive installation draws attention to the fundamental act of perceiving the world around us. But, like the weather, our perceptions are in a continual state of flux. …The Weather Project parallel(s) the unpredictability of the weather outside, which despite the efforts and sabotage of humankind still remains beyond our control.” (Tate, London. 2003
   
  
 
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      Image courtesy of the  MOMA Collection .  

Image courtesy of the MOMA Collection.  

Ice Watch, 2015 is not unlike Rafael Ferrer’s 50 Cakes of Ice, 1970. Ferrer’s project involved melting 300 pound blocks of ice in the sculpture garden of the MOMA as part of the exhibition Information. He wished to present the physical transformation of the ice in comparison to the shifting states of human consciousness. Similarly, Eliasson intended to shift the viewer perspective through the melting of Ice Watch, 2015. By inviting the viewer to physically embrace the ice, allowing them to feel the slick smooth surface of the rapidly disappearing artwork beneath them, the participant can directly experience, and therefore truly understand the consequences of global warming.

Eliasson was aware of the climate pollution associated with obtaining the material for Ice Watch, 2015. An executive summary was developed concerning the geological impact of the expedition. Nevertheless, it was decided the importance of the exhibit far outweighed the economic and environmental expense. 

Eliasson continues to use art and creativity as a catalyst for change. He believes that changing an individuals’ perception of their surroundings actually changes their world. If we work together to highlight the effects of climate change and encourage further contribution to the climate debate, we can stabilize our climate to ensure a healthy ecology for future generations.

Ice Watch was installed in both Denmark and France:
Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing
City Hall Square. Copenhagen, Denmark

October 26-29, 2014

Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing
Place du Panthéon. Paris, France

December 3-13, 2015

Additional Press:

http://icewatchparis.com
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-artist-who-is-bringing-icebergs-to-paris
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/exhibition/unilever-series-olafur-eliasson-weather-project/understanding-project
http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/08/opinions/sutter-ice-watch-cop21-two-degrees/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpftaPHvrBc
http://www.artpractical.com/feature/olafur-eliasson-on-art-and-science/
http://www.fastcoexist.com/3037739/why-artist-olafur-eliasson-hauled-100-tons-of-glacial-ice-to-denmark-only-to-watch-it-melt
http://www.artists4climate.com/en/artists/olafur-eliasson/
https://news.artnet.com/art-world/ice-watch-olafur-eliasson-climate-summit-384704
http://www.artcop21.com/events/8122/
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2015/nov/17/olufar-eliasson-ice-watch-paris-icebergs-place-de-la-republique
http://www.juliesbicycle.com/latest/news/8167-olafur-eliasson-ice-watch
http://hyperallergic.com/260217/olafur-eliassons-sundial-of-melting-icebergs-clocks-in-at-half-past-wasteful/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ice-watch-paris_us_5668af72e4b009377b23bdef
https://www.kooness.com/posts/Ice-watch-Paris-Olafur-Eliasson-COP21-Climate-summit-art-installation
http://www.spotuart.com/blogs/events/78255431-art-news-olafur-eliasson-s-ice-watch-in-paris-for-cop21
http://qz.com/565451/to-confront-climate-change-an-artist-has-put-melting-icebergs-in-the-center-of-paris/
http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1288665/olafur-eliasson-to-unveil-epic-ice-watch-artwork-in-paris
http://spikeworld.co.uk/olafur-eliassons-ice-watch/
http://www.livegreenblog.com/news/ice-watch-paris-by-olafur-eliasson-for-paris-cop21-11188/
http://www.lefigaro.fr/arts-expositions/2015/12/03/03015-20151203ARTFIG00209-le-pantheon-a-minuit-avec-ice-watch-paris-d-olafur-eliasson.php
http://www.artlyst.com/articles/olafur-eliasson-prepares-ice-watch-installation-for-paris-climate-summit-unveiling
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-in-wake-of-paris-attacks-eliasson-s-ice-blocks-evoke-the-human-impact-of-rising-temperatures
http://julietartmagazine.com/en/ice-watch-paris-olafur-eliasson/
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-summit-ice-idUSKBN0TM1VR20151203
http://artreview.com/previews/preview_olafur_eliasson_ice_watch_nov_2015/
http://www.winterspringdesserts.com/blog/stories/olafur-eliassons-ice-watch

Additional Research:

http://www.momaps1.org/expo1/module/olafur-eliasson-your-waste-of-time/
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3048184/slicker-city/artist-olafur-eliasson-on-how-urban-design-impacts-our-psyche
http://www.lefigaro.fr/arts-expositions/2016/01/28/03015-20160128ARTFIG00030-olafur-eliasson-a-versailles-une-ode-au-roi-soleil.php
http://www.artnews.com/2016/01/20/olafur-eliasson-will-receive-a-crystal-award-in-davos-this-week/
http://www.dezeen.com/2014/08/19/olafur-eliasson-louisiana-museum-of-modern-art-denmark-giant-landscape-rocks-riverbed/
http://www.designboom.com/art/olafur-eliasson-riverbed-louisiana-museum-of-modern-art-19-08-2014/
http://www.designboom.com/art/olafur-eliasson-ice-watch-project-climate-change-greenland-copenhagen-10-24-2014/
http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2015/10/features/olafur-eliasson-creative-manifesto
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/olafur-eliasson-paris-icebergs
http://www.artnews.com/2014/10/24/olafur-eliasson-ice-watch/

 

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