Burning Ice

An interactive installation by Chin Chih Yang
August 1, 2009, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Union Square Park near 14th Street, New York City

On August 1, experience the melting of Earth’s ice at Burning ICE, an interactive ice environment by Chin Chih Yang. You are invited to cool down on a giant ice bench while your human warmth melts the frozen water—a mirror of how human activity is hastening the melting of the world’s great ice deposits.

The rapid melting of ice in the Arctic, Greenland, and elsewhere due to climate change is occurring at an ever-increasing rate. Higher sea levels, widespread coastal flooding, and the inundation of Lower Manhattan are very real possibilities. Burning ICE is designed to increase awareness of the importance of Earth’s ice to us all.

Living in the concrete urban world, New Yorkers don’t experience much nature, and rarely view large amounts of ice. The rapid melting of ice in the Arctic, Greenland, and elsewhere due to climate change—and the prospect of higher sea levels, widespread coastal flooding, and the destruction of population centers—is at the top of the news. But living in New York City, in a warmer climate, we are far removed from the melting of Earth’s ice, which—alarmingly—is occurring at an ever-increasing rate.

Artist Chin Chih Yang will create an interactive environment with large blocks of ice, providing a cool surface on which visitors to Union Square Park may sit (atop towels) on a warm summer day. The ice will be placed in stark contrast to the hot stone steps found at the south side of Union Square Park. As the ice melts throughout the day, hastened by human warmth, it will mirror the melting of the world’s great ice deposits. Information about the melting of Earth’s ice will be available, and the artist will facilitate the experience, designed to increase awareness of the importance of ice to the human population.

This interaction of ice and people is intended to parallel the extreme environmental conflict the Earth is experiencing at this time.

This project is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Additional support provided by New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Taiwanese community: Passport to Taiwan, Taiwanese Association of America Greater New York Chapter and Dr. Lung Fong Chen, Patsy Fang Chen, Shui Yeh Wei, Francis S. t. Lin, Lieh Yrieh Lin, Ya Ling Lin, Linda Lee, Ai Hui Chen, Lian-Huo Wu, Mark Chen and Jean Fang.

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