ice

Posts tagged
with ice



Art

Hundreds of Melting Ice Figures Echo the Intensifying Threat of the Climate Crisis in Néle Azevedo’s Public Works

May 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Minimum Monument” (2014), Lima. All images © Néle Azevedo, shared with permission

Ephemerality has always been at the center of Néle Azevedo’s practice. The Brazilian artist is known globally for “Minimum Monument,” a collection of small ice figures that melt in situ.

First exhibited in São Paulo in 2005, the installation, which Azevedo dubs an “urban art action,” has found its way to cities like Paris, Belfast, Lima, and Porto. In each iteration, the artist carves hundreds of 20-centimeter-tall figures seated with their ankles crossed and places them atop outdoor steps and in public spaces. The faceless sculptures drip and pool into small puddles as time passes, which initially was Azevedo’s way of critiquing public monuments and taking “into account the history of the defeated, the anonymous, to bring to light our mortal condition.” The impermanence of the frozen substance directly contrasts the enduring nature of bronze, stone, and other materials typically used for statues and commemorative works.

 

“Minimum Monument” (2005), São Paulo. Photo © Marcos Gorgatti

With the intensifying climate crisis, though, the piece has acquired new meaning as a literal reflection of global warming and the way life will soon disappear from the planet. A statement about the decades-long project explains:

This urgency requires a paradigm shift in the development of governments of all nations to think of another model of development outside the current level of consumption. These threats also finally put Western man in his place, his fate is along with the destiny of the planet, he is not the “king” of nature, but a constituent element of it. We are nature.

A successor to “Minimum Monument,” Azevedo’s “Suspended State” (shown below) similarly gathers more than 1,000 ice figures and dangles them over pots, bowls, and other kitchenware equipped with microphones. “The sound is very important because it invokes that disappearance,” the artist tells Great Big Story. “The melting sculptures (create) a connection between a subjective self and a collective consciousness.”

Explore an archive of Azevedo’s works, including images of multiple iterations of “Minimum Monument,” on her site, and follow news about upcoming exhibitions and projects on Instagram.

 

“Minimum Monument” (2020), Rome. Image © Néle Azevedo

“Minimum Monument” (2009), Berlin. Image © Néle Azevedo

“Minimum Monument” (2016), São Paulo. Image © Néle Azevedo

“Minimum Monument” (2020), Rome. Image © Néle Azevedo

“Minimum Monument” (2020), Rome. Image © Néle Azevedo

“Suspended State,” São Paulo. Photo © Edouard Fraipont

“Suspended State,” São Paulo. Photo © Edouard Fraipont

 

 

advertisement



Music Science

Ice Crystallizes Into Radial Stars in a Hypnotic Short Film Directed by Thomas Blanchard

March 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

Peering through a macro lens, French video artist Thomas Blanchard has cultivated the ability to transform common scientific occurances into mesmerizing, and often otherworldly, tableaus. His recent project is a collaboration with musician Sébastien Guérive, whose quiet, beat-heavy track “Bellatrix” overlays Blanchard’s experimental film.

Shot in 8K against a black backdrop, the video documents a chemical dropped into hot water and then subsequently cooled. The plunge in temperature causes the substance to become unstable, activating crystallization and sending fringed spikes of ice splaying outward from a central point. Similar to his previous projects—watch more of Blanchard’s works on Vimeo and Instagram— “Bellatrix” is an abstract and illuminating consideration of nature’s unruly and incredibly meticulous processes.

 

 

 



Photography

Dramatic Ice Formations Mimic Unearthly Creatures Frozen in the Harz Mountains

February 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jan Erik Waider, shared with permission

Hamburg-based landscape photographer Jan Erik Waider (previously) climbed the Harz Mountains in northern Germany last week in search of the otherworldly figures inhabiting its highest peak. A thick coating of ice transformed the evergreens and other vegetation at Brocken, the summit at an elevation of 3,743 feet, into towering beasts and monster-like characters that appear to wander the frozen tundra. “I like the muted sounds and the seemingly endless variations of gray that come with fog,” he tells Colossal. “I can wander for hours as the winter landscape changes and recomposes itself almost every minute.” Pick up a print of Waider’s Mountain Creatures and see the rest of the series on Behance. You also might enjoy these fantastical menaces.

 

 

 



Photography

Strong Winds Sculpt Frozen Sand into Otherworldly Pillars on a Lake Michigan Beach

January 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joshua Nowicki, shared with permission

Last weekend in St. Joseph, Michigan, tall layered pedestals and sloping tables sprung up from the otherwise calm Tiscornia Park Beach, turning the lakeside vista into a strange, otherworldly environment. Photographer Joshua Nowicki (previously) captured the ice-laden phenomenon, which is caused by powerful winds eroding frozen sand and carving dozens of towering shapes haphazardly placed along the shore.

The unearthly constructions, which look like miniature hoodoos, arise periodically during Great Lakes winters, although Nowicki says these 15-inch formations are some of the tallest he’s stumbled upon. “They do not last very long (usually only a couple of days). The wind completely erodes them or knocks them down. If the temperature goes up above freezing they crumble, and often in the winter, they soon get covered by drifting snow,” he shares.

Find more of Nowicki’s photos documenting the sights of the Midwest’s infamously frigid season on Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation

A Polar Bear Made of Ice Navigates a Melting Arctic Landscape in a Powerful Stop-Motion Short

November 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

A poignant short film by London-based animation studio Nomint is a stunning reminder that we can’t reverse climate disasters. Produced for WWF’s Arctic Programme, “We Can’t Negotiate with Ice” follows a polar bear as it traverses a landscape comprised of melting glaciers, rising seas, and a video-montaged backdrop with flashes of violent storms and wildfires. The stop-motion short is a plea for world leaders to take sweeping, monumental actions at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference and is a year in the making, having used more than 1,000 liters of ice to create 500 unique polar bear sculptures and their surroundings. For more from Nomint’s animated campaigns, head to Vimeo.

 

 

 



Documentary History

A Heartening Documentary Follows the Community Harvesting Ice in Minnesota’s North Woods

September 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

Each winter in Ely, Minnesota, a crew treks out onto a frozen lake to cut hefty blocks of ice from its surface. They haul the thick chunks to storage, where they’re stacked, covered in sawdust, and preserved for use the rest of the year, a once-necessary method of refrigeration rarely applied today. Consisting of dozens of people, some who have been dedicated to the cause for decades and others who joined in the last year or two, the team engages in the age-old practice of harvesting the frozen blocks at the property of legendary explorer and preservationist Will Steger.

Produced by Gravity Films and directed by Nathaniel Schmidt, “Ice Ball” follows the crew throughout two seasons as they endure below freezing temperatures, a typical condition for Minnesota winters that made filming extra challenging, at the explorer’s sustainable enclave in the North Woods. The short documentary spotlights the community that’s gathered around Steger since his Arctic expeditions and chronicles their devotion to more sustainable ways of living.

As the disastrous effects of the climate crisis accelerate, historic methods like the ice harvest reduce the reliance on carbon-based energy sources and offer an urgent alternative. “All of the ice shelves that I’ve traveled on in the polar regions, north and south, they’re not there anymore. We’re at this crisis now, the human race and the planet. We’re going to have to innovate out of it, and this is what it’s about,” Steger says.

According to Short of the Week, Schmidt is currently working on a feature-length documentary about the life of a Wiradjuri woman. It’s slated for release next August, and in the meantime, you can find more of his work on Vimeo.

 

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite