Public art melts away in political protest

Created by American design duo LigoranoReese, these ice sculptures show the disintegration of the American Dream.

Interaction art duo Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese are known for public installations that speak to the political landscape in America. This national election year, the duo, which works under the name LigoranoReese, will attempt to show the demise of the American Dream using two 9-metre long melting ice sculptures.

According to the artists’ crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, the 1800-kilogram sculptures will be placed at the Republican and Democratic political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia respectively. The ice sculptures will be carved to spell the words, The American Dream. Each piece will melt away over a period of 24-hours, symbolising an end to national ethos of the United States. 

“Their disappearance will highlight the erosion of opportunity and social equality in society, intensified even further this election year,” reads the duo’s Kickstarter campaign. “We hope that witnessing the sculpture melt—literally weep through its transformation—will create a sense of urgency and act as a call to action.” 

While the pieces melt, 24 writers, poets and journalists have been invited to react to the installation and publish their views in real time. Spoken word poetry and printed literature will also accompany the installation.

“This is not specific to one political party. Our country is in crisis,” says the duo, who has worked on similar projects at the 2008 and 2012 conventions. In 2008, the artists installed ice sculptures with the word “democracy” at the political conventions, and the word “economy” on the 79th anniversary of the Great Depression, and the words “middle class” in 2012. Their work has also been exhibited in New York at the Museum of Art & Design and at the Lincoln Centre.