2012 to 2016
Ice Pendulum is a live event and sculpture that recreates Léon Foucault's famous 1851 Panthéon pendulum demonstration with a bob of melting ice. While constituting over half the Earth's body of water in frozen form, ice is in a constant state of change. Melting polar ice is also a profound sign of global fragility.
This work was first created as video and photographic piece in 2010 and subsequently presented as a live performance installation at the 2013 Paris Nuit Blanche festival and in the [ 0°C ] exhibition in Japan in 2016.
In 1851 Foucault shocked Parisians as his pendulum proved the invisible gravitational rotation of the Earth was real. This performance installation also confronts us with a difficult truth: that there are physical consequences from shifting dispersions of water on the Earth's speed of rotation, as water moves from the polar regions toward the equator.
The gravitational pull of the Moon on the larger mass of the tides directly impacts the Earth’s movement on its axis and this 'tidal dragging’ of the Moon is adding to the length of each solar day. Researchers at the Observatory of Paris have measured the effect and found it is slowing the speed of the planet's rotation to make each day fractionally longer. As the ice pendulum starts to melt, we too clearly see that the object loses mass and how its motion changes.
Ice Pendulum, Paris Nuit Blanche 2013. Installation Canal Saint-Martin, Paris. Photograph: Nicolas Brasseur.