Photo Friday: Olafur Eliasson’s Ice Art Installation in London

Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson placed twenty-four blocks of glacier ice outside of the Tate Modern in London. He placed another six blocks outside the European headquarters of Bloomberg, also in London.

The installations, unveiled in December, are part of a series called Ice Watch, which Eliasson began in Copenhagen in 2014 at the release of IPCC’s fifth comprehensive report on the state of the world’s climate. He’s since continued his ice exhibitions outside of the Paris climate talks in 2015 and the most recent negotiations in Katowice, Poland.

Eliasson says the goal of the installations is to create a public dialogue about climate change.

Opening of Olafur Eliasson’s new piece ICE WATCH at Tate Modern, London.(source: Studio Olafur Eliasson)

The blocks of ice, now melted, are detached icebergs that were once part of Greenland’s Nuuk Glacier.

Greenland’s ice sheets are shrinking rapidly due to global warming. They’ve lost an average of 280 gigatons of ice per year between 2002 to 2016, according to NASA satellite data, contributing 0.03 inches per year to global sea level rise.

Icebergs floating in Greenland. (Source: Studio Olafur Eliasson)

Eliasson hopes the installations allow people to understand climate change as a tangible event rather than an abstraction.

A toddler gets interactive with Eliasson’s Ice Watch installation. (Source: Studio Olafur Eliasson)
A visitor reacts to Eliasson’s installation. (Source: Studio Olafur Eliasson)

Visitor response has varied.

Instagram user Stuffbycookie commented: “It wasn’t teleported there! It was transported by fossil fuel away from where it is needed most!! All in the name of Art?!”

Another Instagram user said: “This exhibit is a good conversation starter and an obvious counter to science deniers. It might even change the mind. I think the Smithsonian would be a good place.”

Workers loading an iceberg into a shipping container. (Source: Studio Olafur Eliasson)

Read more about the art and climate change on GlacierHub:

Artist Diane Burko Shows Us Our World, and It’s Vanishing

OMG: An Artist Flew Over the Greenland Icesheet

Listening to Glaciers Artfully

Scaling Quelccaya: Depicting Climate Change Through Art

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