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Armillary sphere atop the Alps | Studio Olafur Eliasson

Ólafur Elíasson’s latest artwork is located in the Italian Alps, atop Hochjochferner glacier: dubbed Our Glacial Perspectives, the goal of the installation is to direct the visitor’s attention to a broader planetary perspective on the climate change.

The main element of the installation is an oversized version of an armillary sphere: an ancient astronomical instrument, also known as a model of objects in the sky. The artwork can be accessed through a path leading along the mountain’s glacial-carved ridge, by first passing through nine metal archways spaced to represent the length of the five ice ages in earth’s history. At the end of the path stands a pavilion made of steel and blue glass panels, designed to be used by visitors as an astronomical instrument. Just like in the case of the classic armillary sphere, the rings of the structure mark the horizon, the main cardinal directions and the sun’s path across the sky.

Elíasson chose the location for a specific reason: it allows spectators to come close to a glacier that is directly threatened by climate change. The Our Glacial Perspectives not only calls our attention to the reality of climate change on an emotional level, but also through sensory and physical experience.

Elíasson describes the artwork as “a magnifier for the very particular experience of time and space that this location affords—vast and boundless on the one hand, local and specific on the other. It is an optical device that invites us to engage, from our embodied position, with planetary and glacial perspectives.”

Photos: David Orru, Oskar Da Riz, Studio Olafur Eliasson

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Source: press release

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