The ICE CHIMES amplifies both the beauty and sound of icicles over the course of their existence and reinterprets a natural process for a city landscape.
A perforated shade canopy captures winter precipitation. Heating coils within the canopy melt the snow and freezing rain, allowing water to drip through a grid of holes onto thin copper rods hung on stainless steel cables. The ice encrusted rods sway in the wind, clinking and chiming until the ice grows heavy with their own weight and falling into the collection bucket below. The bucket is constructed of sheet metal panels to capture and amplify the sound of the crash and the cascading pieces of fractured ice.
ICE CHIMES 2012 was located on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, adjacent to one of the main pedestrian passage intersections, with site lines extending into the dense downtown neighborhood streets. The ICE CHIMES brought the natural beauty of winter into the urban environment.
ICE CHIMES 2013 is located at Dartmouth College. The Ice Chimes is part of a continuing slate of public art installations during the college’s Year of the Arts. “One of the goals of the Year of the Arts is to bring art to different parts of the campus, and Ice Chimes, with its blend of architecture, art, engineering, music, and science, seemed like the perfect work to install outside the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center” states Michael Taylor, Director of Dartmouth’s Hood Museum.
The first few lines of Robert Frost’s poem Birches speak to the fundamental idea of the Ice Chime sculpture.
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
Robert Frost, 1916