WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years

Media: Glass, ice core water samples, silk, wood, 8 channel sound by Steve Peters
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; Installed at Center for Visual Art, Denver, Colorado in 2017
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; detail; silk, glass, glacial water; 2016; photo credit: Chris Holloman
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; detail; silk, glass, glacial water; 2016; photo credit: Chris Holloman
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; detail; silk, glass, glacial water; 2016; photo credit: Chris Holloman
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; detail; silk, glass, glacial water; 2016; photo credit: Chris Holloman
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; installed at Nevada Museum of Art, Center for Art+Environment; 2016; photo credit: Chris Holloman
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; installed at Nevada Museum of Art, Center for Art+Environment; 2016; photo credit: Chris Holloman
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; detail; silk, glass, glacial water; 2016; photo credit: Joe Rudko
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; detail; silk, glass, glacial water; 2016; photo credit: Joe Rudko
WAIS Reliquary: 68,000 Years; Steve Peters "playing" glass ampules for 8 channel sound recording
WAIS Reliquary Urn; decommissioned DISC Drill, cast glass; 36"ht x 6"dia; 2017
WAIS Reliquary Urn; decommissioned DISC Drill, cast glass; 36"ht x 6"dia; 2017
WAIS Reliquary Urn; detail; decommissioned DISC Drill, cast glass; 36"ht x 6"dia; 2017
WAIS Reliquary Urn; detail; decommissioned DISC Drill, cast glass; 36"ht x 6"dia; 2017

In January 2012, after ten years of planning and work, scientists completed drilling a 3405 meters core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (http://www.waisdivide.unh.edu/). It is one of the deepest and most detailed ice cores ever retrieved. Data from the study of this ice is redefining our understanding of the climate record.

In 2009-10, I visited the WAIS Divide Ice Core field camp and was struck by the scale of time and space that the Ice Core represents. The WAIS Reliquary sculpture acts as a shrine and permanent memorial of this project, symbolically recapturing samples taken from the depths of the ice sheet and drawing connections between the secular and sacred.