The founders of Way Too Concrete were invited to be part of the Climate Care programme at the Floating University Berlin. For the closing event, we staged Way Too Concrete V: Special Iceberg Edition, during which I presented a contribution about what I referred to as “Iceberg Semiotics”, exploring just why the iceberg as a metaphorical trope continues to endure in the most misplaced of contexts. An extract follows:
Great While Silences: Iceberg Semiotics
During a recent holiday, I found myself walking through an amusement park located on the top of a hill overlooking Kazakhstan’s second city, Almaty. The park was fairly crowded, with moving crowds of day-trippers and extended families criss-crossing one another as they roamed from the spinning teacup rides to the petting zoo enclosures. It was hard to catch anyone’s faces in these moving masses but one sight amongst them stood out to me like a video freeze frame: the image of an iceberg, rendered in a palette of different blue hues, triangle-polygon-style, on a small boy’s t shirt. I lost sight of him and it too quickly to snap a photograph.
Ever since we received the request from the Climate Care curators to focus our Way Too Concrete attention on the theme of icebergs, I have found myself preoccupied by icerbergian phenomena such as the image on that boy’s t-shirt: in short, I’ve spent recent weeks fuelling a strange obsession with not so much the object of the iceberg itself, but rather its representation across media, past, present and future. Beyond this, I have also developed a perverse fascination with the manner in which those past and present versions seem to be informing the confusing and terrifying nature of not just future representations of the iceberg, but also their actual reality. It is a collage of these different projections that I have brought to you who have gathered within this most stately of icebergs this evening.
Way Too Concrete: Footnotes on the Spatial is a semi-regular series of screenings, lectures and discussion exploring aspects of spatial production, representation and perception – finding comedy in the academic, and the profound in the banal. Way Too Concrete was founded in 2017 by Ian Warner, Fiona Shipwright and Sandra Bartoli.