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"At World's End" (Science Magazine)
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Art at World’s End

Edited by Lauren Schenkman


Volume 329, Page 17

July 2, 2010

Artist Xavier Cortada favors an unusual medium: polar ice. 

In 2006, during 2 weeks in Antarctica, he took scientists’ samples from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, mingled them with paint, and let them melt on paper. "It’s a watercolor if you think about it,” Cortada says, and "a precursor of horrors to come” with global warming. 

In a performance piece at the South Pole, Cortada read 24 statements about climate change, collected from people around the world, over 24 shoes aligned with their longitudes. He also planted 51 fl ags 10 meters apart to mark how ice has flowed yearly from the pole since 1956, when humans opened a permanent base there, and buried an ice replica of a mangrove seedling under the pole itself. Cortada called the latter installation "150,000-Year Journey”—the time the ice will take to convey theseedling to the continent’s edge.  "It’s my way of … making us realize how insignificant [human history] was next to geologic time scales,” he says.

Artifacts, photos, and video from Cortada’s projects appear in North Pole/South Pole (90n/90s) Installations, an exhibition that opened 25 June at the Miami Science Museum in Florida.


9/13/2014 » 11/1/2014
Cortada to celebrate 50th Birthday with "Littoral Creatures" exhibit opening on September 13th

9/27/2014 » 1/4/2015
Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Canada): Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775 - 2012

Green Drinks: Virginia Key | FLOR500 Wildflower Seed Distribution at History Miami museum

11/12/2014 » 12/17/2014
Littoral Creatures: Broward College Exhibit and Lecture

FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


 Reclamation Project

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 ©2008-2014 Xavier Cortada. All text content, videos, and images are the property of Xavier Cortada.
Any reproductions, revisions or modifications of this website without expressed consent of Xavier Cortada is prohibited by law.

Xavier Cortada created art installations at the North Pole and South Pole to address environmental concerns at every point in between. He’s been commissioned to create art for the White House, the World Bank, Miami City Hall, Miami-Dade County Hall, Florida Botanical Gardens, the Miami Art Museum, Museum of Florida History, Miami Science Museum and the Frost Art Museum. Cortada has also developed numerous collaborative art projects globally, including peace murals in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, child welfare murals in Bolivia and Panama, AIDS murals in Switzerland and South Africa, and eco-art projects in HollandHawaiiNew HampshireLatvia and Taiwan

Cortada serves as artist-in-residence at the The FIU | College of Architecture + The Arts.  FIU | CARTA engages our local and global communities by deploying the power of architecture + the arts to createinnovate, and inspire solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems. Offering 9 graduate and 8 undergraduate degrees within 7 academic departments, our more than 2,500 majors have the unique experience working with our award-winning faculty, in nationally ranked programs, in the heart of Miami — one of the country’s most vibrant, diverse, and creative cities! For more information, visit us at