Do you remember your first time you saw dry ice? Mine was in a punch bowl as part of a Halloween school dance. There was something inherently magical about the material; when I first encountered it I kept blinking, waiting for what looked like an illusion to reveal itself. Watching Judy Chicago's revival of 'Disappearing Environments as Sublime Environment' revives that initial excitement and gives it poetic understanding.
Chicago teamed up with Materials & Applications to revive her 1968 'Disappearing Environments as Sublime Environment' performance, originally by Chicago, Lloyd Hamrol, and Eric Orr. The piece consisted of 25 tons of dry ice into pyramid formations that shrouded the surrounding environment in a hazy fog. At sunset, the installation was incited with road flares and left to disintegrate over the following four days until it disappeared. Chicago described the medium of dry ice as "a metaphor for the preciousness of life."
The performance piece alters the landscape of the Santa Monica Barker Hanger, turning an airport structure into an outdoor dream laboratory in which an experiment had gone awry. The dry ice creations are a combination of architectural pyramids and apocalyptic wedding cakes. Continuing in Chicago's language of confusing typically masculine and feminine fields, traditionally male pyrotechnic flares gave way to a pinkish rolling fog that softened and feminized the landscape. The piece was a stunning addition to the Art Los Angeles Contemporary art fair, and can be seen in all its glory in the video below:
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