Phase Change


Phase Change

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Commissioned for Northern Spark 2016
Winner, Art+Interaction Award, SXSW Eco Place By Design 2016
Selected for Americans for the Arts / Public Art Network Year in Review, 2016

Phase Change creatively re-presents the effects of climate change through an engaging and dynamic spatial construction of melting ice. The ephemeral installation consists of 12,000 pounds of ice harvested from Lake Calhoun (Dakota name “Bde Maka Ska”) in March 2016 and stored passively from March through June. This sculptural ice form faces a lattice of infra-red lamps that are programmed to fluctuate based on data derived from climate change research. The heat produced by the lights corresponds to historical and projected climate change data and melts the sculpture according to three different climate change scenarios: a pre-industrial simulation that depicts climatic conditions as if the industrial era never happened; the present day scenario; and the “worst case” scenario that demonstrates the effects of the most extreme climate change forecasts.

Futures North partnered with youth from Youth Environmental Activists of MN (YEA! MN) and educators from Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy to guide visitors in conversation about the conditions that threaten to overcome us. Visitors to the installation were invited to observe the ‘phase change’ of ice melting to water and consider what our collective future holds.

Phase Change debuted on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at Northern Spark 2016, a dusk-to-dawn arts festival attended by over 30,000 people. The installation included the re-constructed ice house, which featured the film piece Polar Forces: universe of an iceberg by artist Ruth Le Gear. The project was presented by Northern and supported by the McKnight Foundation.

Project Credits:
Futures North: Daniel Dean & Molly Reichert (Project Leads), John Kim, Adam Marcus
Design & Project Team: Alya Ansari, Fred Leite Goncalves, John Vitale, Ally Western
Structural Engineering: Ben Arcand
Programming & Electrical Engineering: Ray Kampmeier, John King, Daniel Dean, Max Hoaglund
Ice Harvest Adviser: Will Steger
Ice Fabrication Consultant: Trevor Pearson
Ice Harvest Team: Molly Reichert, Daniel Dean, John Moore, Tavia Parker, Nathan Young, Cassie Warholm-Wohlenhaus, Faith Bickner, John Vitale, Ryan Dean, Sean Higgins, Mark Borrello, Sarah Peters, Steve Dietz, Dziwe Ntaba
Construction Team: Molly Reichert, Daniel Dean, John Kim, Adam Marcus, Michael McMurchie, Alya Ansari, Chris Berger, Matt Yank, Ben Arcand, John Vitale, Keanan Faruq, Ken Witt, Jeff Evans, Evan Engesther, Alicia Johnson, Bill Feahr, Nic Marko, Laura Bigger, Daniel Shinbaum, Dziwe Ntaba, Sam Gould, Jason Spidle, Ilana Percher, Harrison Mitchell, Johnny Taga, Dan Taga,
Engagement Volunteers: Matt Rahaim, Malory Giraldo, Soline Van de Moortele, Katie Siegner, Jack McCarthy, Janet Brown, Livia Lund, Liam DelMain, Isabel Watson, Addie Welch, Erin Cerny, Savannah Duby, Arden Hegberg, Rozy Eastaugh, Espoir DelMain, Tristan Rouse-Powderhorn, Natalie Cook
Photography: Futures North, Ally Western, Katie Siegner
Client: Northern
Special Thanks: Mill City Museum, Mark Borrello

Featured Press:
“Hot Art: Sometimes You Have to Melt Some Ice to Make a Point” by Heather Smith, Grist
“The Power of Climate Art, Illuminated” by Katie Siegner, Yale Climate Connections
“Igniting Change: Northern Spark Targets Climate Chaos” by Sheila Dickinson, Walker Art Center Magazine
“Northern Spark turns climate change into a fun night out” by Mary Abbe, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“All-night art festival aims spotlight at climate change” by Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
“2016 Northern Spark: Minneapolis’ all-night party is this weekend” by Kathy Berdan, Pioneer Press
“On Phase Change” by Megan Guerber, Northern Lights