Ice Watch: Artist brings huge icebergs to Paris to raise the issue of climate change

Acclaimed visual artist Olafur Eliasson, in collaboration with distinguished geologist Minik Rosing, has collaborated on a major public artwork on display during this year's UN Climate Summit (COP21) in Paris.

Via Creative Boom submission. All images courtesy of the artist

Via Creative Boom submission. All images courtesy of the artist

Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and realised in partnership with creative sustainability charity Julie’s Bicycle, Ice Watch showcases 80 tonnes of ice from a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland with the aim of inspiring public action against climate change.

Harvested from free-floating blocks of ice, the work has been arranged in a clock formation on the Place du Panthéon, while world leaders and their climate teams gather in Le Bourget, Paris to discuss how to ensure a stable climate for future generations. In the days that follow, the ice will be allowed to melt in the square, offering the general public a glimpse at climate change on our planet.

"Today we have access to reliable data that sheds light on what will happen and what can be done,” said Olafur Eliasson. “Let’s appreciate this unique opportunity – we, the world, can and must act now. Let’s transform climate knowledge into climate action. As an artist I hope my works touch people, which in turn can make something that may have previously seemed quite abstract more a reality. Art has the ability to change our perceptions and perspectives on the world, and Ice Watch makes the climate challenges we are facing tangible. I hope it will inspire shared commitment to taking climate action."

Depending on weather conditions, Ice Watch is expected to be on view until 11 December, the last day of the conference. Remaining ice will then be brought to local schools and cultural institutions as part of an extended community educational programme.

Julie’s Bicycle is a leading not-for-profit organisation advocating for sustainability in the cultural and creative industries. Ice Watch is featured on ArtCOP21 with over 300 other arts events, which are supporting the talks as well as a symposium for cultural policy makers facilitated by COAL, On the Move and Julie’s Bicycle.


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