“Waiting For A Break” is a public art piece commissioned by LAND Studio for Public Square, in Cleveland, Ohio. The piece consists LCD panels installed in public bus shelters that display live feeds of Lake Erie’s winter ice forming and breaking from January to June 2018. Real-time shots of the icy horizon line will be fed from three cameras installed on lighthouses around the perimeter of lake. The video feed will continue until the ice has melted entirely, and on into the first month of summer, so that the lake images at the end of the piece will be much different than the images at the beginning.
The real-time entropy of the ice and the lake is at the heart of this piece; this is a slowly- evolving, living piece. For the first few months of the installation, images on the screen will primarily consist of bleak shots of silvery ice and sky, the grey days of the winter that Clevelanders know so well. Although the shots will not move, variations in the frame will always be happening: birds will fly across the screen, fisherman may appear on the ice, clouds will move overhead. Commuters who frequent the bus stop will develop a relationship with the imagery, and will notice environmental shifts as time goes by; the days will get longer, the birds will become more frequent, the skies will shift from grey to blue. But the climax of the real-time piece occurs in late March or early April, when the event we’ve all been waiting for finally occurs: the ice will break. After the long Cleveland winter, witnessing the majestic ice thaw is something to be celebrated––it is the break we’ve collectively been waiting for.
The title of the piece and the project’s URL will be installed nearby, so the words “Waiting For A Break” will filter through the minds of viewers as they experience the piece. The winter is long, and we are all waiting for something to break up the dark days. The irony is that although we are anxious for the ice to thaw, a solid ice cover is an indicator of a healthy climate and lake. Given the current threats to the Great Lakes Protection Act, it is a critical moment to put Cleveland’s great natural resource, Lake Erie, front and center.