9.6 tons of art is melting in Occidental Park as you read this. 9.6 tons. That’s 19,200 pounds, or the equivalent of 614,400 standard ice cubes fused together into the biggest ice cube this city has ever seen.
Art, of course.
Seattle architecture firm Olson Kundig placed an 80” x 80” x 80” cube of ice in Pioneer Square last Thursday night to “showcase the stages of the natural water cycle as the ice shifts from opaque to translucent.” The artistic explanation continues: “As the 10-ton ice cube evaporates and melts, it offers a cool respite to visitors and scatters ambient sunlight and colors throughout the park. The pure form of the cube will gradually erode in the summer sun, marking the passage of time as its waters slowly return to the sea.”
Do you buy it? Is this high art? Or, more accurately, is it the height of temporary art?
At any rate, The ice cube has become quite the Instagram and Twitter sensation. All sorts of people have made their way to Occidental Park to take a few photos and upload them with them the hashtag #ok_icecube.
Regardless of whether you consider this art or not, I like how this giant, seven-foot tall chunk of frozen water brings people together. Glance at any of these photos, and you’ll see all sorts of people gathering. “Weird, huh?” “Can you take my picture?” “How long do you think it’ll last?” Conversations like this flitter around the ice cube.
This is a community-building piece, and even though the ice will eventually melt and disappear, maybe the goodwill and neighborliness it inspired won’t vanish so quickly. Maybe it will melt out a little bit of the Seattle Freeze all of us are so familiar with, and maybe it’ll move Seattle closer to the city of my dreams: a community of real people genuinely invested in one another, people of all sorts, of all races, all genders, all sexual orientations and incomes and ages. That’s the city I want for my friends.
As you can see from the photos, this giant ice cube clearly obeys natural laws. Slowly but surely, it’s melting away. How long do you think it’ll last?
We’re guessing Friday. Share your guess on our Facebook page!