Design Crime: Artists Sell Chunks of the Polar Ice Cap

Stick to painting, dudes.

Design Crime: Artists Sell Chunks of the Polar Ice Cap

Remember when everyone declared irony dead after 9/11? Well, it’s back. Or maybe it didn’t go away. Either way, we’ve never wished it deader. Here’s why:


So what you’ve got there is a pair of artists who traveled to the north pole, lopped off a chunk of the ice cap — you know, the one that’s melting into oblivion because of global warming — then lugged it back home to Amsterdam, where they’re selling pieces in capsules for 25 Euros (about $33) a pop. “Come get your relic from the last ice age,” they say in the video above, “your piece of history, and bring the heated discussion [about global warming] home.”

Oh, and there are more reasons to hand over your money! Per their Web site:

-Your piece of history might be an interesting investment for the future. Since scarcity has value. The melting of the ice caps makes your piece worth more every day.

-If you want to show your (grand)children an original piece of polar ice, this is your chance.

-You always wanted to have a wodka [SIC] on the rocks the way it should be. When the ice cracks, prehistoric bubbles are released.

-If fifty years from now climate change is under control you could return the ice, so it never dissapeared [SIC], it just hibernated in your freezer waiting for better times.

Obviously, the artists are sending up the language of greedy capitalists, who’ll turn any natural disaster or public ill — even the rape of mother earth — into a merchandising opportunity.


But think of the environmental crime they committed to make this very simple point. They had to get to the north pole, presumably by plane, then they had to take a boat and hire equipment to secure the block of ice. Then they had to somehow keep it refrigerated before chopping it up into a thousand pieces for sale. And now, whoever buys the capsules will have to store them away in an energy-guzzling freezer. It’s like railing against animal cruelty by blowing up a cat, then hawking the guts as souvenirs.

We guess that sort of winking cynicism is part of their schtick (ie, “Opulence. I haz it“). But being knowing doesn’t mean you actually know anything worth saying.

[Images via MyPolarIce]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.