Light Installation Artists Luftwerk Confront Climate Crisis With A 'Monumental' New Piece

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 2, 2017 7:14PM

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'White Wanderer' rendering at 2 N. Riverside Plaza / Via Kickstarter

Chances are that you're a fan of Luftwerk, even if that name doesn't register. The Chicago duo is responsible for some of the most visually arresting light-based public art upon which we've ever gazed in slack-jawed wonder (recall the The 606 light installation and the justly popular Luminous Field light show, at Garfield Park Conservatory). Now, Luftwerk is back with their latest grand-vision project—one that changes up the media focus and confronts the climate crisis head on.

Dubbed "White Wanderer," the "monumental" installation refers to the massive ice shelf that broke off and split from an Antarctic iceberg last month. Luftwerk—in partnership with environmental-steward group Natural Resources Defense Council—culled recording of the massive rupture to create a haunting new soundtrack, which doubles as a red-flag reminded of the perils of climate change.

The soundtrack will be paired with visual, "scaled representation" of the iceberg split (check out the rendering above). So even though this project incorporates more of a sound component than some of their previous public-art pieces, they're not forsaking their signature graphic element.

Luftwerk describes "White Wanderer" and its impetus and goals further:

"In June, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, weakening global efforts to combat climate change. 'White Wanderer' was developed as a public art intervention to help people experience the collossal effects of climate change in an innovative way, while bolstering support for much-needed climate conversation and action."

"White Wanderer" will be on view from at 2 N. Riverside Plaza, between Sept. 7 and Oct. 1, free of charge. The soundtrack will later be featured at EXPO CHICAGO and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

You can contribute to the project's Kickstarter here. Pledge gifts include silk screens, limited-edition vinyl copies of the soundtrack and a Luftwerk studio visit.

Check out the video below, which features some audio of the soundtrack. The stunning sounds of the the iceberg cracking will make you hop up in your seat a bit.


White Wanderer - Luftwerk in collaboration with NRDC from Spirit of Space on Vimeo.