I always find the name of American installation artist Spencer Tunick a little bit ironic, for a man who makes his art photographing people naked.

For his latest installation, he managed to gather six hundred people from all over Europe to the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland to help a Greenpeace campaign to raise awareness of global warming. Directing the crowd through a megaphone whilst perched on the top of a ladder, Tunick photographed the throng standing and lying down on the ice, as camera crews at five points on the glacier also recorded the event.

The results are both eccentric and beautiful – and if it is indeed true that a picture paints a thousand words, then the images are also very powerful. The fragility of the human body in such surroundings is obvious, but the pictures highlight plight of the landscape itself. “I want my images to go more than skin-deep. I want the viewers to feel the vulnerability of their existence and how it relates closely to the sensitivity of the world’s glaciers”, he said.


The rate at which the alpine glaciers are melting has increased dramatically since the beginning of industrialisation, since when lost about a third of the surface area and half the mass. According to Greenpeace, the Aletsch glacier itself retreated by 155 metres between 2005 and 2006 alone.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that we have only eight years in which to act if we are to prevent irreversible damage to world climate, I really hope that this campaign has the impact it intends. I think it is also fitting that the 600 brave souls who stripped off for all our futures are immortalised in this art, and should be commended for voting with their feet (and everything else).




  1. 1 experienceexcellence August 23, 2007 at 12:44 am

    very great. i missed that one – i wish i could’ve seen it *g*.

    i’m swiss, but i’m currently spending some time in the U.S. (facing some of the toughest “i do not believe in global warming”-people you’ll ever meet, even though i grew up thinking of it as a fact). so it’s good to see people care about it after all…

    keep it up

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