Gradual Slip













  Installation view of Gradual Slip, 2016    





Vimeo Movie



In Gradual Slip, a peristaltic pump moves water up to a hypodermic needle; from this a drip of water emerges and falls onto an angled aluminum plate. As the drop of water encounters the plate it freezes solid before it can roll off the plate. Thermal electric coolers (TEC) located under the aluminum plate lower the temperature to freeze the water droplets solid. Gradually the frozen drips accumulate into a small “glacier”. After 3 hours or more of ice accumulation the TEC cold plate shuts off. Very quickly the plate warms up and the mini ice glacier slides off into a tray filled with dirt and grass seed. As the exhibition progresses grass will sprout and grow where the ice melts. In this robotic installation there are three drip mechanisms that are constantly in different states of ice growth and melt.

The natural environment has evolved into system in equilibrium. Through our ignorance humans have disrupted this homeostasis. In all systems there is a threshold, a limit where the system can no longer function when pushed beyond this boundary. In nature too these same thresholds exist however we are not necessarily in tune with the limits. We try to exert control over systems we do not fully understand. There is a tipping point, a point of no return. As the normal balance is disrupted we slip further toward this point. This is not a sudden shift and so society is slow to respond. This is a gradual slip.

Melting glaciers are just one of many harbingers of this disharmony. Dr. Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), stated “Due to the strong ice loss over the past few decades, many glaciers are too big under current climatic conditions. They simply have not had enough time to react to the climatic changes of the past. “So they will have to retreat further until they are in balance with climatic conditions again. In the European Alps, many glaciers would lose about 50% of their present surface area without further climate change.” – Climate News Network (1)

Completed in 2016, Gradual Slip measures: 10”D x 46”W x 59”H. The artwork is made from: silicone tubes, water, peristaltic pumps, hypodermic needles, thermal electric cooling plates, dc fans, L.E.D.’s, Arduino microcontroller, power supplies, various electronics, wire, dirt, grass seed, machined aluminum, stainless steel, poly carbonate, acrylic.


1. Kirby, Alex. "Global Glacier Melt Reaches Record Levels - Climate News Network." Climate News Network. N.p., 05 Aug. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.