Unless you’re part of the deluded little group with their fingers in their ears shouting “lalalala” when anyone mentions climate change, you’ll be convinced by now that Earth is in a bit of trouble of our own doing. The chickens are coming home to roost; ever since the Industrial Revolution first began belching out smog on a massive scale, man has found ever more destructive ways to pollute the planet, and the effects are starting to bite. Chief among the concerns is the melting of polar ice-caps, causing rising sea levels that are predicted to swamp large parts of coastline in the coming years.
Ice Watch is artist Olafur Eliasson and scientist Minik Rosing’s brilliant contribution to the debate, putting the plight of the ice caps into stark visual context and dragging the problem away from the abstract and into to the startlingly real. Dragging with the help of some heavy machinery, as 12 huge blocks of ice totalling 100 tonnes were manoeuvred onto position at Copenhagen’s City Hall Square. Collected from a fjord in Iceland, the ice – described as a haptic sculpture – represented the hours on a clock face and was left to slowly disappear beneath the fingertips of visitors. The work was conceived by Eliasson and Rosing (Professor of Geology at Copenhagen University’s Natural History Museum) to draw attention to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent assessment report and melted over the course of last week, with a view to converting public concern into affirmative action.