ice swimmer / ice house

The project Ice Houses and Sky Holes – Interventions, Explorations, Reconstructions and Mapping in Schleswig-Holstein, 2012-13 takes the ice houses in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, largely forgotten cultural monuments, as a base for artistic investigation and research. Within this context and in a timespan of two years between 2012 and 2013, Till Krause, Ulrike Moor, Dan Peterman, and Hans Hs Winkler developed conceptual artworks and realized them in remote locations, in historical ice houses and on ice house ruins.  Hs Winkler curator.

The ice house project opens up engaging ways to think about place and how one inhabits the terrain of their chosen home. Year-round conservation of winter ice is so richly and ecologically embedded in its locality. Here the earth is humbly engineered as a building material and insulator to capture seasonal temperature change--winter cold is gently stretched into summer--as resources are elegantly leveraged by simple means.

We live in a time when this approach to technology is both quaintly historical, and desperately important to consider. Our present technological moment foregrounds a struggle to maintain hazardous energy technologies--technologies that free us from negotiating seasonal change but launch us into climate uncertainty and risk.

In response to an invitation to participate in the ice house project, I proposed working with an image of my local ice-- the frozen surface of Lake Michigan bordering Chicago--that offered a seemingly endless expanse. This ice-world image is occupied by a lone winter swimmer, diligently clearing a path for an impossible journey. The image is a snapshot of a friend determined to swim in the lake everyday, ice or no ice. It is not a staged photo. For me this image captured something quite extreme and dreamlike. In some fundamental way it addresses deliberate, determined survival. Installing this image in the underground chamber of the ice house is a fantastic leap of time and space that hopefully carries with it elements of wonderment, curiosity, and concern for the way we inhabit our world.

Dan Peterman,  Ice House installation Rixdorf, Germany