One hundred tonnes of inland ice from Greenland melts on Copenhagen City Hall Square as part of a project to highlight climate change. With Ice Watch, Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing direct attention to the publication of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report on the Climate.
On Sunday, twelve large blocks of ice, collected from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland, will arrive at Copenhagen’s City Hall Square. The ice, displayed in clock formation, is a physical wake-up call: Climate change is a fact. Temperatures are rising. The ice is melting. Sea levels are rising. With Ice Watch, artist Olafur Eliasson and geologist Minik Rosing have made a visually striking, haptic contribution to the climate debate. Their shared message: Today we have access to reliable data that shed light on what will happen and what can be done. Let’s appreciate this unique opportunity – we, the world, must and can act now. Let’s transform climate knowledge into climate action.
Speeches will be held by the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Morten Helveg Petersen; Deputy Mayor Morten Kabell; Minik Rosing; and Olafur Eliasson.
The artwork will be on view until Wednesday, 29 October.
Olafur Eliasson: As an artist, I am interested in how we give knowledge a body. What does a thought feel like, and how can felt knowledge encourage action? Ice Watch makes the climate challenges we are facing tangible. I hope that people will touch the inland ice on City Hall Square and be touched by it. Perception and physical experience are cornerstones in art, and they may also function as tools for creating social change. We are all part of the ‘global we’; we must all work together to ensure a stable climate for future generations.
Minik Rosing: Ice is a wonderful, peculiar substance. Just as the progress of our civilisations has been tied to the coming and going of the ice ages, so, too, are our future destiny and the destiny of ice tied together. Through our actions we are now close to terminating the period of stable climate that served as the condition for civilisations to arise and flourish. Science and technology have made it possible for us to destabilise Earth’s climate, but now that we understand the mechanisms behind these changes, we have the power to prevent them from growing.
Ice Watch was conceived to mark the publication of the Fifth Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the event, accompanying its publication, hosted in Copenhagen from 27 to 31 October 2014. The IPCC report is based on scientific research by a global community of scientists and contains assessments of knowledge about climate change and its conse- quences. (For more info on IPCC: www.ipcc.ch)
Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing have created a work of art with 100 tonnes of inland ice. This number corresponds to the amount of inland ice melting every hundredth of a second. And it will only increase if global warming continues. We can save the ice by burning less coal, conserving electricity, and driving better cars. Right now, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is gathering in Denmark to finalise the Fifth Assessment Report. It will provide food for thought to both politicians and citizens. Just like this work of art.
Eliasson’s work spans from photography and film to sculpture, installation, and architecture. Established in 1995, his Berlin studio today numbers about eighty-five craftsmen, architects, and art historians.
Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing: 100 tonnes of inland ice from Greenland on Copenhagen City Hall Square Sunday 26 October