Melting Tropics, an interactive installation produced by ARKAR, presented at the Saint-Laurent metro station’s outdoor site in Montreal, from February 26 to March 23, 2014, thanks to the collaboration of the Quartier des spectacles, the City of Montreal, UQAM and its Faculty of Sciences and Fujifilm, as well as the support of Dpt, the STM, Conception Element and Atelier M. Séguin.

Melting Tropics, a space to reflect on the environmental problems brought about by climate change.

Over the last 20 years, the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet has been one of the key factors accounting for rising sea levels. According to recent model-based projections, ocean warming around Greenland will reach nearly double the global average by 2100, impeding any accurate estimate of future sea level rise.

In the meantime, in the heart of the tropics, precisely 12,000 km away from Greenland, the governments of the Republic of Kiribati and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are observing that their entire territory is being progressively encroached upon by rising sea levels.

With the average altitude of these atolls merely one meter above sea level, their entire populations are already under threat and will have to vacate their land by 2030.

© Nathalie St-Pierre

Ice structures were developed to showcase a series of photographs documenting rising sea levels and their repercussions on the most vulnerable communities I spent time with in the heart of the Pacific, more specifically in the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Kiribati, in January 2014.

These photographs of islands submerged by rising sea levels and located worlds away from the polar regions, were displayed inside ice structures equipped with lighting systems that would evoke the gradual melting of glaciers.

Motion detectors thereby allowed visitors to alter the light intensity of the photographs. In “standby” mode, colour LED lights reproduced the glaciers’ bluish/greenish tints, while the movement of a visitor in front of a structure would activate a white light on the photographs. In this case, the changes in colour mimicked the changing states of water, from solid to liquid, while the structure itself was bound to transform over time to inevitably melt come springtime.

© Alain Dassylva

“Climate change is neither an environmental problem nor a matter of economic growth. Simply put, humanity’s survival is what’s at stake. I understand that our numbers are small. But if that’s the reasoning behind our decision-making as an international community and as human beings, I would argue that the very existence of humankind is under grave threat.”
–Anote Tong, Former President of Kiribati


Ice structures in crystalline osmosis: Ateliers Laurent Godron in Mont-Tremblant
Light integration: Conception Élément
Acrylic photo printing: Atelier Michel Séguin


Matthieu Rytz, Artist and Creative Director
Guillaume Voyer, Project Manager
Félix Lemire, Production Manager (Conception Élément)
Félix Duranceau, Planning Director
Isaac Caballero, Technical Director
Julien Blizzart, Ice Sculptor
Atelier Michel Séguin, Acrylic photo printing
Marie Marais, Head of communications and publicist

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!