Quirks & Quarks

LISTEN: These artists turned a breakaway iceberg into music

Icebergs make sounds we can't hear. Two artists changed that and the results are moving.
When an iceberg breaks, does it make a sound? 0:50

The iceberg

On July 12 of this year, an iceberg broke away from Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf.  The massive chunk of ice, slightly larger than Prince Edward Island, is now adrift in the Weddell Sea.  Some icebergs are created naturally, but with greater frequency they are the result of climate change.  

The exhibit

A Chicago based artist group called Luftwerk were inspired by this event to create a seven minute audio track that simulates the sound of an iceberg.  They turned seismic data gathered by University of Chicago glaciologist Douglas MacAyeal into haunting sounds that those passing by the downtown public exhibit were able to hear.  The installation was called 'The White Wanderer' after the nickname scientists assign to such large icebergs.  

The purpose

As with many works of art, a reaction is the ultimate goal.  In this case the artists felt that 'The White Wanderer' actually gave a voice to climate change in a way that caught public attention like never before.