During the Paris Climate Conference, 80 tons of Greenland ice melted in the city, thanks to Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and geologist Minik Rosign.
The project began in early October, when Eliasson set out with Kuupik Kleist, the former Prime Minister of Greenland, to find dozens of icebergs made of compressed snow that had separated from glaciers, in a process called "calving." The icebergs, located in a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland, were lassoed to the ship by divers and dockworkers and dragged back to port, where they were then transferred by shipping container to Denmark. A 10 hour truck journey got them to their final destination in Paris.
Installed as a circle of icebergs with a circumference of 20 meters, Ice Watch Paris, part of the Artists 4 Paris Climate 2015 initiative, mimics both the clock face and the architecture that supports the dome of the mausoleum behind it. Eliasson hopes that by bringing the ice, dated to be thousands of years old, to the general public, people will be encouraged to think about the rate at which the Arctic is melting.
"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,” said Eliasson.
Ice watch made its debut last year in Copenhagen. The artist installed a "trial run" outside the Town Hall while the I.C.C.P report was being written. François Zimeray, the French Ambassador to Denmark, prompted Eliasson to bring the installation to Paris.
Projected to last a mere two weeks, the melting project reminds the public of the dangers of a melting planet.