Outdoor installation on the Yukon River, 2009 during an Art Residency at the Klondike Institute of Art, Dawson City Yukon. LEGACY refers to the landscape as being the heritage of the inhabitants of this region, which was founded over a hundred years ago during the Gold Rush.
The Legacy, perspective
Dawson City was settled during the Gold Rush. Today it is a tourist destination but the real legacy of this small town lies in it’s natural environment.
◄ Legacy, Ice
8 foot high ice text on the Yukon River, Dawson City, Yukon, 2009
The ice is formed by pouring water into wooden forms, which are sealed and only open at the top.
The plywood forms are installed on site on the frozen river.
Steam Drilling the Yukon
Worker uses a steam head to melt a hole in the 4 feet deep river ice, from which water will be pumped into the wooden form and left to freeze for several weeks.
The ice holes freeze up quickly and they need to be chopped opened with an axe.
After wild temperature fluctuations from rain to -50 Celsius, the wooden forms are taken off.
Removing all of the screws in the cold is a daunting task. Drill batteries run low quickly.
The dry cold of the north created fissures in the ice as soon as it was exposed to the air. Straps secure the ice blocks.
The forms are removed and only small pieces of wood support the letters with the canteleivers. To everyone’s surprise, the ice letters crumbled to the ground as soon as the wood was removed.
Letter G with the wood support about to be removed.
Within seconds a loud rumble is heard as the ice collapses.
Helper moves out of the way quickly.
The next day the only letters left standing are the L and the Y. In the end the ice blocks resembled the ruins of some forgotten ancient city.
This installation was to last all winter but nothing is ever predictable when working with nature. This work is a testimony to the practice of letting go of the outcome of a project.