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Waiting for a Break

About the Work

Waiting for a Break, the fourth iteration of the Landform public art series, is a new installation created by artist Julia Christensen in Cleveland’s Public Square. Landform is a series of projects of varying scale and medium developed by a diverse group of local, regional, and international artists, and is made possible through a generous grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.

Waiting for a Break consists of a video kiosk on Public Square that displays rotating live feeds of Lake Erie’s surface as the winter ice forms, shifts, and finally breaks––in real time––during the winter of 2017-2018. Networked cameras are situated on South Bass Island and Gibraltar Island (at Stone Laboratory/Ohio Sea Grant/The Ohio State University), and on the Maumee Bay (at the Lake Erie Center/University of Toledo), giving the public access to icy views of Lake Erie. 
“Although we are all waiting for the ice to break in the middle of the winter, Lake Erie’s ice is becoming thinner and more erratic, year-by-year. The Great Lakes Protection Act is currently under threat, and proposed cuts would take the health of the Great Lakes back decades. So ice is actually a visual, tangible indicator of a healthy lake and a healthy climate. When we talk about icebergs melting due to climate change, it is often hard to conceptualize, since icebergs are so big, and so far away. But broadcasting images of the ice on the western end of our Great Lake Erie––which is mere steps away from Public Square––brings climate change’s impact on our own ecosystem home to Cleveland.” - Julia

Julia Christensen is an artist and writer whose work explores systems of technology, consumerism, landscape, and memory. Her work has been exhibited among many galleries and museums, including the Walker Art Center, MOCA, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Christensen is a recent recipient of the Creative Capital Fellowship, MacDowell Fellowship, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and the SPACES R+D Award. Christensen is the author of Big Box Reuse, published by MIT Press. She has spoken widely about her work at universities and art institutions, including Yale, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, and others. She is Associate Professor of Integrated Media Art in the Studio Art Department at Oberlin College, which is located exactly 11 miles south of the Lake Erie shore.
Waiting for a Break extends beyond Public Square, with a concurrent presentation organized by SPACES from January 26 – March 23, 2018. SPACES is located at 2900 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland.

Creative Team

Julia Christensen -

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