olafur eliasson installs 'northwest passage' at MIT to highlight effects of global warming

olafur eliasson installs 'northwest passage' at MIT to highlight effects of global warming

MIT list visual arts center unveils ‘northwest passage’, a newly commissioned art work created by olafur eliasson for MIT.nano in the USA. the site specific installation spans 90 feet and is comprised of 30 polished stainless-steel panels, each of a different size and abstract shape, installed on the breezeway ceiling of the space, floating above visitors to the building.

olafur eliasson installs 'northwest passage' at MIT to highlight effects of global warming

images © anton grassl



eliasson has designed the mirrored forms based on a pattern of free-floating ice, the product of thinning ice coverage, found in the northwest passage between north america and the arctic circle. seven semi-circular rings, each lined with an LED light and diffuser, are reflected in the mirror panels, creating the appearance of complete circles of light. this optical illusion elicits further inspection from the viewer, inviting them to enter the passageway and the connected university buildings.

olafur eliasson installs 'northwest passage' at MIT to highlight effects of global warming



the project draws inspiration from the dramatic thinning of the ice coverage in the parry channel of the northwest passage – a historically impassable frozen route through the arctic ocean linking the pacific to the atlantic. as of the summer of 2007, the effects of climate change have allowed vessels to sail the passage without requiring an icebreaker, an event that scientists predict will become more and more common with the continued effects of global warming.

olafur eliasson installs 'northwest passage' at MIT to highlight effects of global warming 



project info:


project name: ‘northwest passage’

project location: MIT.nano, cambridge, the USA

design: olafur eliasson

images: anton grassl

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