McEwan hails green art exhibition as call to arms

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The Independent Online

The novelist Ian McEwan has issued a personal call to arms over global warming at an exhibition which provides a graphic reminder of its consequences for the planet.

McEwan is one of many artists who contributed to the Ice Garden, the first exhibition to emerge from the Cape Farewell project led by artist/photographer David Buckland, in which Antony Gormley, McEwan and Rachel Whiteread travelled to the Arctic earlier this year to explore the seas that hold the key to understanding the world's oceans and the changes in weather patterns and climate.

The exhibition, in the Clarendon Quad outside Oxford's Bodleian Library, features the environmental architect Peter Clegg's 10 melting two-metre-high columns of ice, signifying the amount of carbon dioxide each Briton generates in one year; Buckland's projections of glacial messages and images from the frozen Arctic on to a sheet of water; Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey's ice lens and sound installation artist Max Eastley's fragment of glacier-emitting sounds of disintegrating ice.

McEwan said: "Probably the only way that an ordinary non-climate scientist like myself is ever going to fully register the situation we are in is to really see the beauty of what we stand to lose."

Buckland, the project director, said that the artists, who were not paid, had endured temperatures of minus 33C.

"Climate change is real and will affect us all," he said. "All of Cape Farewell's efforts focus on finding new, exciting and positive ways of involving people in these changes."

Geographically, Cape Farewell - or Cape "Fare Well" - is situated on the southernmost point of Greenland, close to one of the places most critical to understanding climate change. The Ice Garden, which opened yesterday, can be seen between 4pm and 8pm until Sunday.

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