The Freeze, 2016
The project The Freeze revolves around a geo-engineering performance on top of the highest mountain peak in Sweden. In the past few decades, the south peak, mainly consisting of a glacier, has been melting more than 25 meters due to a warmer climate, and the rocky north peak threatens to take over as the highest point in Sweden. By the end of summer 2014, the south peak was measured at 2097.5 m – just 0.7 meters higher that the rocky north peak. During July and August up to 100 people climbs the south peak every day and the question is what will happen if they aim for the north peak instead? Reaching the north peak is much more difficult and will probably result in serious climbing accidents.
As a counteraction to this negative development, a 500 sq. m golden climate shade cloth was deployed on the mountain’s south peak on the evening of summer solstice, 2015. The performance was inspired by the attempts to halt the melting of the Rhone glacier, where every summer, large areas are covered with reflective cloth. This method can save up to three meters of glacial ice each summer season.
Seen against this, and the majestic back drop of the snow covered mountain chain, the golden rescue blanket for Kebnekaise looks like a futile symbolic gesture. But at the yearly measurement of the peak in August 2015, it measured 2097.8. Weather these 30 cm extra glacial ice was added because of the rescue blanket being placed there during the hot summer month, is of course difficult to answer.
The material collected during the geo-engineering performance was later developed into an installation called The Freeze. The rescue blanket covered a full scale sculptural replica of the peak, but split down the middle so that visitors could walk through it and discover the segmented interior of the glacier. Adjacent to this decapitated mountain peak, the performance was presented as a 4-channel video sculpture/weather station. Other works in the project included: a memorial sculpture in reflective stainless steel of the southern peak height at the measurement in August 2014,; an Inverted Space Molecule with spherical 360° panorama pictures from the tip of Kebnekaise down to the mine in Kiruna; an appropriated Sunshine Recorder displaying the burned trace from the sun on the evening of the performance; and a series of photographic glass montages from the project of blanketing the peak.
The Freeze is the third in a series of exhibitions in which Bigert & Bergström investigate mankind’s desire to control the climate, the weather and their own living conditions through geo-engineering. Previous exhibitions in the series include The Storm (2012) and The Drought (2013).