Polar Zero – Ice core

Polar Zero – Ice core

A moment frozen in time

Experience the sound of ancient air bubbles popping as an Antarctic Peninsula ice core emerges from an insulated tube.  As it melts and drips away it marks – in an artistic sense – the fragility of the polar ice.

A man standing in front of a group of people in a room
Exhibition visitors touch a real Antarctic ice core and hear ancient air bubbles pop and crackle as it melts

The artist incorporates audio recordings of gases escaping from ice cores into an ambient soundtrack that evokes the passage of time, place and memory.  Polar Zero invites you to take a moment to reflect on what our past means for the present and future climate.  As you move around this exhibition you will become an integral part of the story.

These technically challenging pieces are supported by Arup’s expertise and creativity, from predicting how long it will take the ice to melt with complex dynamic computer models to finding the right materials to encapsulate the air sample.  Antarctic ice is a nexus of historical information.  It inspires and facilitates the production of a contemporary artwork at a time of accelerating climate crisis.

A close up of a person
A slice of a deep ice core showing the bubbles of trapped air. This air is a time capsule of the atmosphere at the time that the snow fell.

Polar Zero identifies the British Antarctic Survey’s ice-core laboratory as a repository of scientific and cultural data that reflects humanity’s engagement with, and intervention in, the Polar Regions.

Polar Zero Collaborators