The ice-blocks were fished out of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland after becoming detached from the ice sheet. As a result of global warming, more icebergs are being produced. This is contributing to rising sea levels.
When they were installed, each ice block weighed between 1.5 and 5 tonnes. The estimated energy cost for bringing one of these blocks to London is equal to one person flying from London to the Arctic and back to witness the ice melting.
Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing hope many more people will understand the reality of climate change by experiencing Ice Watch. Although we may have seen photographs of the melting ice caps, we rarely have a physical experience of these conditions. Warmer climates have caused the Greenland ice sheet to lose around 200–300 billion tonnes each year, a rate that is expected to increase dramatically. By bringing the ice to London, and creating a temporary sculpture similar to the form of an ancient stone circle, Eliasson and Rosing enable us to engage with the ice directly. We can look at it, move around it and touch it.