Ice Watch London: A public Artwork by Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
December 12, 2018

Coinciding with the opening of COP24, the climate change conference scheduled in Katowice, Poland, Olafur Eliasson has staged blocks of melting glacial ice across two public sites in London (Bankside, outside Tate Modern and City of London outside Bloomberg’s European headquarters) as part of his “Ice Watch” series.

Each of the 24 blocks of ice weighs between 1.5 and 6 tonnes. Fished out of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord, they had already been lost from the ice sheet and were melting into the ocean. The Greenland ice sheet loses 10,000 such blocks of ice per second throughout the year; fishing these blocks of ice from the sea did not affect the quantity of ice in Greenland.

In the artist’s words: “The blocks of glacial ice await your arrival. Put your hand on the ice, listen to it, smell it, look at it – and witness the ecological changes our world is undergoing. Feelings of distance and disconnect hold us back, make us grow numb and passive. I hope that Ice Watch arouses feelings of proximity, presence, and relevance, of narratives that you can identify with and that make us all engage. We must recognise that together we have the power to take individual actions and to push for systemic change. Come touch the Greenland ice sheet and be touched by it. Let’s transform climate knowledge into climate action.”

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