As the World Burns

| Fri Nov. 20, 2009 9:31 PM EST

Just the other day I was whinging about a photo on the BBC website of an ice sculpture of a penguin (it's in this slide show) surrounded by well-dressed, admiring urbanites. I thought: How cool, what better way than a melting sculpture to highlight the plight of polar animals. Then I read the caption. Something along the lines of: "An ice sculpture of a penguin as part of a campaign to encourage shopping in London’s West End." Not a trace of irony there.

Now I see on Designboom the perfect, icy riposte. The thousand (give or take) ice figures of "Melting Men" by Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo has been appearing around the world since 2005, according to GreenMuze. Azevedo originally intended the installation of disappearing men as a critique of monuments in cities: replacing stone with ice, immortality with ephemeron.

Not hard to see why the installation has been reinterpreted, hijacked really, by those concerned for our warming world.

More photos of the melting men on this Flickr thread.