SpaceLogo Sciences Participating with Arts & Culture in Education

Bob Kavanagh   January 13, 2016



An allegory is like a metaphor, saying something is something else to communicate a meaning which is somewhat hidden from plain view.  IceVisions does not tell a story or provide a literary context.  It is not “saying” something – rather, it “is” something, it is a thing.  So, what is its hidden meaning?

IceVisions is a project to construct a medium-to-large ice sculpture on the grounds of Dawson College, outside in mid-winter, late January/early February.  This sculpture will be constructed out of ice fashioned like a simple labyrinth in the shape of a human eye.  The eye will actually be looking up toward the heavens.  The eye will be designed for people to walk into it, through the pupil of it, and back out again into the normal world.  It will consist of four slightly interlocking curving ice walls.  These ice walls will permit light to pass through them in varying degrees of translucency, transparency and scattered opacity.

Overall the sculpture will be about 7 meters long (22-23 feet), 2.5 meters high (7-8 feet) and about 4 meters wide (13-14 feet).  It will be made of blocks of ice, sheets and layers of ice and ice castings.  Imagine, if you will, a big ice Lego.

The physical reality which it is, an ice sculpture, leaves the diversity of its hidden meanings in the minds and visions of those who see it, experience it, walk through it and wonder about it.  Those who help build it will also see it in that unique way that all creators see the things they create.  It is a physical construct which acts as a cipher in our efforts to understand, to see into, to grasp and comprehend: light as energy and light as vision, appearance and reality, truth and illusion, consciousness and fact, states of matter and the limits of matter – of “phusis” and “nomos” (πησις, νομος ??).  But, more of all that later, if you please!

The 2015-16 theme of S.P.A.C.E. is VISION(S) and the ice-eye sculpture uses this theme to probe, to query, to wonder – not only the question, what vision is, but equally, what is human knowing and what is reality?  What can and what do we see? What visionary functions are served by the inner eye, the ephemeral eye of imagination or memory, and the elusive eye of dreams?  What about the astounding vision of contemporary telescopes and cosmological probes – cosmic eyes?

All that is yet to come.  For now IceVisions is in the imagination and preparation phase, the design-and-planning-for-building stage.  IceVisions will be a tremendous and exciting amount of work simply to build – it will certainly give us all something fun to do in the heart of winter.  It will be based on student, faculty and staff collaboration simply to come into its physical existence.  With a wide variety of programs and departments having already been contacted, the sculpture should be able to involve many disciplines which will make the diversity of input very significant indeed.

How about you?


Une allégorie est comme une métaphore.  Elle déclare et montre qu'une chose spécifique est une autre chose, et en le faisant, elle communique une signification ou un sens qui est un peu caché de la vue directe.   VisionGlaciale - un œil en neige glacée - ne "dit" rien ; plutôt, elle "est" quelque chose.  Elle est une chose physique (elle n'est pas de tout un œil actuel) ; elle n'est pas un texte ou une image, mais elle est un objet matériel ayant un sens allégorique. Alors, c'est quoi, sa signification cachée?

Le thème de  S.P.A.C.E. (Sciences Participating with Arts and Culture in Education) pour l'année 2015-16 est : VISION(S). La sculpture d'un oeil glacé utilise ce thème de poser des questions : qu'est-ce que c'est la vision, c'est quoi la connaissance humaine, c'est quoi la réalité que nous voyons?  Que voyons-nous et que pouvons-nous voir? Quelles sont les fonctions visionnaires servies par l'œil intérieur, l'œil de l'imagination ou de la mémoire, et l'œil insaisissable des rêves? C'est quoi encore,  la vision étonnante de télescopes et sondes cosmologiques contemporaines - sont-ils des yeux cosmiques?

Tout cela est encore à venir.  Bâtir VisionGlaciale exigera une énorme quantité de travail physique de construire - quelque chose d'amusant à faire dans le cœur de l'hiver. Elle sera basée sur collaboration des étudiants, professeurs et personnel du collège tout simplement pour avoir son existence physique. Tous et toutes sont les bienvenus à s'impliquer dans l'actualisation du projet !


Further readings, videos, websites...

Below you will find several categories each of which opens a particular and imaginative slant on novel and unusual ways to view the Icevisions project.  Each category has links to websites, videos, books, impressions and ideas which touch on the several facets of the sculpture and which allow virtually any discipline or orientation to create a response to the IceVisions Project.

1. Ice and Archeology

How do we know some of the remarkable information about woolly mammoths?  Well, ice of course.  Imagine finding a melting mummy – not in a sarcophagus but in an ice field.  Is the ice in ice fields and glaciers really thousands of years old?  Look around and find out.

Have fun!
10 Archaeological Discoveries Made Possible By Global Warming
Ancient artifacts and human remains surface as glaciers melt
First Columbian Mammoth
Ice Age Discoveries: New Evidence
Images for archaeological finds in ice mammoths
Items lost in the Stone Age are found in melting glaciers
Melting Mummies Are on Thin Ice



Le Carnaval
ça "caille" à Evian !!! 
Visions de Glace - Le Livre

3. Fun, Building and Other Ventures in Snowy Mid-Winter

Making snowballs in winter, constructing Snow Men in the front yard, making snow angels on the snow covered lawn – all terrific and traditional winter activities.  They are, however, also only the tip of the iceberg as the saying goes.  There is a veritable plethora of creative, demanding, imaginative and obsessive adventures to undertake in winter, snow and ice – sculptures, palaces, forts, hotels, desert structures.  Open the door…

Germany's Incredible Ice Hotel
Manitoba Ice Wall
How to Build an Ice Hotel
How To Make An Igloo
L'histoire du Carnaval
Ice Age Movie
Ice Blocking MADNESS!
Winter Carnival Ice Palace
Innovations In Ice
chihuly ice wall jerusalem-images
ice in the desert-images
Ice Lantern Garden Party 2005
skiing in Dubai
Building the Ice Palace, and fun and games at Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
SunGlacier: A Solar-Powered Leaf That Makes Ice in the Desert
Ice Palaces at Montreal
allan kaprow ice wall images
building walls of ice

4. Ice Ages (and not only the popular children’s animated video), climate change and the contemporary canary in the mineshaft…

They say the ice-bridge traversing the Bering Sea, linking north eastern Russia to today’s Alaska, provided the route for walking from one continent to another across an impassable barrier.  True? Absurd? How many Ice Ages have linked the various phases of humanity’s past and even the links of modern humans to what we commonly call the Neanderthals?  Is climate change the death throes of the last ice age?  Was there a mini ice age in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries – and how would we know? Well, I certainly do not know.  Why not have a look and out?
Abrupt Climate Change During the Last Ice Age
Are we heading into a new Ice Age?
Ice age Wkipedia
ice ages-Images
New Women of the Ice Age
The Ice Ages

5. Chemistry, Physics, Death?  Hold on here, just a minute!

Like most things we human beings wonder about, ice is more that it appears to be, and not quite as straightforward as we commonly think.  That is of course the beauty and the curse of the human mind – we start with something fairly obvious and common and we probe, analyze and investigate.  The more we investigate and experiment, the more we find out of course – and we take this finding out to be knowledge and scientific understanding.  Of equal if not more importance, however, is the recognition that the more we find out, the closer we get to what we do not know and the more we show to ourselves, the profundity of our ignorance. 

Aurora Ice Museum
Why we use salt on ice
Points on Ice:
The Secrets in Greenland's Ice Sheet
What Happens's When You Freeze Water in a Container
Images for the Icy Finger of Death
Science of Hockey
Surface Chemistry of Icy Bodies
Why Does Ice Float

6. Literary Images, Holy Texts, What’s Next

There are certain religious traditions which portray hell and the destructive power of the gods as fiery brimstone, and some of these characteristics carry over into the modern age.  Even while a popular image of hell is a torture of fire, heat and similar destruction there is also a most famous image of the depths of hell as pure and entrapping ice (note Dante’s Divine Comedy Canto 34, Inferno).  What in heaven’s name (to borrow a phrase) is the role of the Ice Wall in GRR Martin’s The Song of Ice and Fire?  Have you ever visited the Land of Narnia and seen the Ice Queen?

How “Frozen” Took Over the World
Dante's Satan-Wikipedia
Fire and Ice By Robert Frost
"The Ice Is Getting Thinner"
Ice & Snow - Poem by Helen Windass
Ice Poems
Images for ice in hell dante
the lion the witch and the wardrobe images
Quotes About Ice
See Elsa as an evil ice queen in dark version of Frozen
ASong of Ice and Fire
Wall Wiki
The Ice Wall-Images
Can the Ice Wall Survive Science

7. Ice in a Gallery, is This Art?

Aurora Ice Museum
Chihuly: The Jerusalem Wall of Ice
Fairbanks Ice Museum

8. Talk About BIG Ice.

We sort of know that the main glaciers in the world today date from many millennia before our time.  How old, how big, how vulnerable?  Sheer mass showing vulnerability in a dramatic set of changes.  Open your eyes, look to your future.

10 Archaeological Discoveries Made Possible By Global Warming
Glaciers elicit both awe and curiosity
What is a glacier?
Chemistry  of  Changing  Seasons: Melting  Snow  and Ice
Creation of Glacial Ice and Glacier Movement
Glacier melt in B.C. mountains reaches 'shocking' levels

9. So, What Do We Know and What Do We Hope to Know?

In the modern world, we tend to think that getting to know something is the general goal of scientific inquiry.  How far does our inquiry take us and how far ranging is our curiosity?

13th International Conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Ice
Chemistry of Ice Surfaces
What Story Does Ice Tell
National Snow and Ice Data Centre
Absolute Zero
Turn Water Into Ice Instantly
The Journey To The Other Side Of Absolute Zero
Quantum gas goes below absolute zero
At What Temperature Does Water Freeze
Absolute Zero Absolute Awesone
Ice Edge
ice desert biome-images
Science Behind Brinicles
Dramatic ice edge images from northern Barents Sea

10. Is Snow Ice? 

There are many crystals in the world and our line of vision is currently limited to water in in several crystal formations.  How heavy is a crystal of water, of ice, of snow?  Why?

How to Build a Snow Fort
How to Make an Indestructible Snow Fort — With Pykrete
How to Build the Ultimate Snow Fort - Snow Igloo Style

11. More on Ice.

The Icicle Atlas
Chemistry of Chrystals
Chemistry of Ice
What is the coldest water can get before it turns into ice?
All About Sea Ice
Crystalline State of the Ice
Ice: Solid water
What is Ice: Simple Chemistry
Why does salt melt ice?






Share This


You have to be registered and logged in in order to post comments!