UCL News


UCL in the News: Callers take part in art

8 June 2007

A unique work of art, unveiled today, invites viewers to phone a glacier in Iceland - and listen to its death throes, live, through a microphone submerged deep in the bitterly cold lagoon which relays the splashes, creaks and groans as great masses of melting ice sheer off and crash into the water.

The dying glacier sounds clearer than the snuffly artist, Katie Paterson [UCL Slade School of Fine Art], who has been camping out in torrential rain and bitter cold installing the piece.

The visible tip of the project in Britain is her neon sign in the Slade gallery, London, part of her degree show, which gives the mobile number 07758 225698, from which anyone can call and make direct contact with the polar icecap, and Vatnajokull, the largest though rapidly eroding glacier in Europe.

"This lagoon is a graveyard of glaciers," Paterson said yesterday, from her tent by the water. "In a way there is something heartbreaking about this, knowing that you are listening to something magnificent being destroyed - but it is also very beautiful, a celebration of nature." …

She won sponsorship and technical help from Virgin Mobile to produce this more complicated piece, which invoved sinking a waterproof microphone into the lagoon, linked to a phone on land. …

Maev Kennedy, 'The Guardian'