Canadian environmental artist Nicole Dextras makes creative use of a cold climate with Ice Typography, an ongoing exploration of the ever-shifting relationship between language and landscape. The works consist of three-dimensional words fabricated in ice and erected outdoors. From 18-inch words in the Toronto cityscape, to 8-foot high letters in the Arctic, the works are ephemeral and in constant flux, their lives determined by the temperature.
“When the ice texts are installed on site, the temperature determines how long it will take for them to change state from solid to liquid,” she writes. “This phase of transition becomes symbolic of the interconnectedness of language and culture to the land as they are affected by time and by a constant shifting and transforming nature.”
The series subverts the commerce of signage and the authority of the English language, representing words as vulnerable and always changing. Ice Typography is more alike dreams and oral stories than written language, says Dextras, since the words absorb light and melt, leaving no trace behind.