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Luftwerk installation to bring the real sounds of climate change to the Chicago River

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Inspired by the disintegration of polar ice shelfs, the waterfront multimedia display will launch next month

A horizontal fissure across the exterior of 2 N. Riverside Plaza symbolizes cracking Antarctic ice.

Chicago-based architectural artists Luftwerk—the same group behind the Turning Sky light show on the 606 Trail and Solarise at the Garfield Park Conservatory—are teaming up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the University of Chicago for a new public audio/visual work to bring awareness to climate change through sight and sound. Slated for downtown’s 2 N. Riverside Plaza, the White Wanderer installation takes its inspiration from the trillion-ton Larsen C ice shelf which broke free from Antartica and plunged into the Wendell Sea last month.

Expected to occupy the busy riverfront pedestrian mall from September 7th through October 1st, Luftwerk’s creation will feature a contemporary soundtrack comprised of ghostly recordings of melting and shifting glacial ice. A graphical fracture line on the limestone facade of Holabird & Root’s 1929 Art Deco 2 N. Riverside Plaza building modeled on the 120-mile-long Larsen C crack will provide a hard-to-miss visual.

The White Wanderer soundtrack will also be present at Navy Pier’s EXPO CHICAGO September 13th through the 17th and will be part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, according to the project’s Kickstarter page. Financial backers of the installation are rewarded with perks such as a studio visit to Luftwerks and a special edition vinyl record. As of today, White Wanderer has received $5,514 of its crowd-funding champaign goal of $17,000.

Limited edition vinyl White Wanderer soundtrack.