Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey

British, both born 1959

Ice Lens, 2005, archival inkjet print

During the 2005 Cape Farewell expedition to Svalbard in the High Arctic, we were trying to formulate a visual response to climate change but when the temperature doesn’t rise much above minus 27 degrees centigrade, this isn’t easy. One idea we came up with was to create a large ice lens that would focus beams of sunlight, possibly melting snow or scorching sheets of paper. We found a small glacial iceberg frozen into the sea and sawed off a section, dragging it back to the boat where we hand carved it into a disc shaped lens. The sun, however, was low and weak in the sky, it’s rays couldn’t really focus through the smooth but shattered ice but it became a “suncatcher,” presenting a cracked, ancient mosaic of light.
— Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey

The Cape Farewell project organizes seafaring voyages for scientists and artists to work side by side as they did during the 18th and 19th centuries. In contrast to earlier artists who documented the landscape, Ackroyd and Harvey created a site-specific sculpture in the Arctic. They extended the locale of environmental art, a movement that emerged in the 1960s when artists first began making art from natural materials on the land.
This project was documented in the book, Burning Ice: Art and Climate Change (2006).