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WE’RE MELTING THE FUTURE

On Sunday morning, September 21, 2014, artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese installed a large-scale ice sculpture of the words The Future.

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This beautifully impermanent public art/climate change monument heralded the United Nations Climate Summit on Sept 23rd in New York City. The artists allowed the sculpture to melt away and disappear, as a way to highlight the urgent need for action to solve the climate crisis. It was their way to call for fans to join them in advance of the UN Climate Summit and People’s Climate March, a huge success!

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This public artwork coincided with the Peoples Climate March and was co-sponsored by 350.org and NYC Department of Transportation. It has received the Human Impacts Institute 2014 Creative Climate Award.

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Related articles : WFP-FROM SMALL TO GIANT STEPS article by Claude Forthomme

                           OIL SPILLS: A DOUBLE STANDARD WORLD article by Hannah Fisher-Lauder

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In case you’re wondering: Who are Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese? Two major conceptual artists committed to our future working together under the name LigoranoReese who are affiliated with Catharine Clark Gallery in New York. They told Impakter that they had begun fabrication of a massive public art work, to be unveiled this Sunday at Flatiron Plaza North on 23rd St NYC, in advance of the People’s Climate March and UN Climate Summit. Here they are at work on huge blocks of ice, cutting away with saws.​

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“When you begin to witness the rapid changes occurring on the planet, rising temperatures, increasing droughts, the extinction of vast numbers of species, you think about loss and disappearance,” Marshall Reese says. “Ice is the perfect material for bringing awareness of what that kind of change means.”

The artists called the piece, “Dawn of the Anthropocene” to describe the effect of humanity on the Earth’s systems. The term comes from Nobel prize scientist Paul Crutzen. In his and other scientists’ view, humanity has entered an age when the power and impact of humans is as great, if not greater, than nature’s. The City of New York has zeroed in on a more direct message: the The Future is melting.

The project, selected for the 2014 Human Impacts Institute’s Creative Climate Awards and sponsored by 350.org and the NYC Department of Transportation, follows several earlier ice projects by LigoranoReese, which they call “temporary monuments.”

In 2008, the artists installed ice sculptures of the words Democracy at the political conventions, Economy on the 79th anniversary of the Great Depression, and Middle Class in 2012 in Charlotte and Tampa. (http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2013/10/04/democratic-meltdown) These ice sculptures materially underscore the impact of political and social ideas that often escape the public’s attention.
The artists are producing a making-of video and a time lapse of the melt, available after September 22 as a digital embed — their contribution to the debate around global warming.

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  1. Claude Nougat

    Interesting how contemporary artists aren’t afraid to work in materials that cannot support longevity – they often do that both with land art and body art. This is of course in complete contrast to artists in the past who dreamt of conquering Time, vide Michelangelo working in marble. In this case, though, the artists have taken the temporary, fugitive dimension of the art support one step further and made it the message. Talk about “the medium is the message”…This is truly it, Marshall McLuhan would be happy!


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