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Meltings of the heart change glacial landscapes

Meltings of the heart change glacial landscapes (2016)

Video: Ice domes, Food Colouring, Salt, Hydrophobic dyes, Water (shot on a GoPro)

Dr. Olivia Osborne & Dan Wilkinson


This body of work consists of a time-lapse that explores and intertwines the themes of love and the constantly changing environment around us. Basis of this abstract contemporary piece are “ice domes” that consist of frozen water with pigments/salt trapped in them which are placed to create an icy vibrant landscape resembling glaciers that over the course of time melt. According to Osborne, the ice domes represent both the environment in the form of glaciers and how defenceless they are to climate change. In addition, as a side-by-side comparison they also represent the vulnerability of “frozen” human hearts and the susceptibility to “melt”.  The salt symbolizes the action of a xenobiotic tainting the environment and in the heart, a powerful evocative emotion that penetrates the organ, both through a chemical reaction. When this occurs, it leaves a tainted colour that is forever encapsulated within the environment/heart and “trapped”. The water that surges in and out represent the people that flow in and out of ours lives in the environment and our hearts. Only some powerful people/chemicals have the capacity to make an impression or “love” in this landscape. Their touch upon the impressionable delicate emotions and susceptible landscapes remain there permanently, hybridizing one another, interconnecting. These actions represented by hydrophobic coloured dyes “paint” quite a scene as if almost viewing a post-impressionist painting.


Osborne and Wilkinson make scientific comparisons to capillaries and microfluidics within the art work. In addition, they said this work has been inspired by Van Gogh’s The Starry Night for its similarities to astronomical features and its exploration in laminar flow.


Beyond the Binary: Feminist Climate Change, Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria (2017)

Fluid Systems, Art|Sci Gallery, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA (2016)

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