olafur eliasson’s ‘our glacial perspectives’ is an astronomical instrument

olafur eliasson unveils his latest permanent public artwork ‘our glacial perspectives’ along south tyrol’s hochjochferner glacier. upon visiting the glass artwork, visitors to mount grawand set out along a pathway leading along the mountain’s glacial-carved ridge for 410 meters. the path is incrementally divided by nine gates that are spaced at intervals corresponding in scale to the durations of earth’s ice ages, marking a deep timeline of the planet, of ice, and of the environment.

olafur eliasson glacial perspectives
image by riccardo marianno, studio olafur eliasson

 

 

olafur eliasson’s ‘our glacial perspectives’ pavilion comprises a series of steel and glass rings encompassing a circular deck which projects over the edge of mount grawand. from this point, the pavilion serves as an astronomical instrument that aligns the visitor’s gaze with the surrounding rings, which track the apparent path of the sun in the sky on any given day. the rings divide the year into equal time intervals — the top ring tracks the path of the sun on the summer solstice, the middle ring tracks the equinox, while the lowest tracks the winter solstice.

olafur eliasson glacial perspectives
image by david orru

 

 

each ring of the pavilion, ‘our glacial perspectives’ is divided into rectangular glass panes that demarcate fifteen arc minutes of the sun’s movement across the sky. this allows the viewer to determine the time of day based on the position of the sun. marking the horizon, the cardinal directions, and the movement of the sun, olafur eliasson directs the visitor’s attention to a larger planetary perspective on the changes in climate that are directly affecting hochjochferner. the glass panes of the sun-path are tinted various shades of blue in reference to the cyanometer, a scale developed in the nineteenth century for measuring the blueness of the sky. the colored glass filters and reflects light and solar radiation, behaving as a mini-atmosphere.

olafur eliasson glacial perspectives
image by david orru

olafur eliasson glacial perspectives
image by riccardo marianno, studio olafur eliasson

olafur eliasson glacial perspectives
image by riccardo marianno, studio olafur eliasson

olafur eliasson glacial perspectives
image by martin rattini

olafur eliasson glacial perspectives
image by martin rattini

 

 

project info:

 

project title: our glacial perspectives

artist: olafur eliasson

location: mount grawand, south tyrol, italy (access via schnalstaler cable car in I-39020 kurzras)

completion: october 9th, 2020

photography: riccardo marianno, david orru, martin rattini

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