A group of students in Cologne drew attention to the climate change crisis as part of a school project, by standing on blocks of ice under makeshift gallows.
With ropes tied loosely around their necks, the students stood on the ice blocks as they slowly melted until there was no ice left – resulting in them hanging from the gallows with their feet in the air.
Don’t panic though, because no one was actually harmed during the protest; it was all part of an art performance for a school project to raise awareness about climate change.
You can take a look at their dramatic performance below:
The students, Anne Sikora and Sophia Regner from Ecosign-Academy in Cologne, Germany, came up with the idea as part of their ‘Environment’ project, led by senior lecturer Thomas Zika.
The climate policy art performance, called ‘Eis am Strick’/’Ice on the Rope’, took place on Saturday (July 6), with the students standing in the centre of Cologne outside the Apple Store at Brunnen.
The group told UNILAD they chose that particular area because ‘the backdrop of consumption supported our concerns’, adding several thousands of people were ‘shocked and confused’ to see them standing in such a way.
Hoping to draw attention to the injustices of climate change, Anne and Sophia stressed that the world is in an ‘inevitable situation’ which can only be stabilised by global cooperation.
In a statement provided to UNILAD, the students said:
Three students standing on top of melting blocks of ice. Ropes around their necks, below a gallows, in the heart of a shopping area. We are expecting the obvious, being watched by a surprised, confused, and supportive audience.
With this climate political art performance in the heart of consumerism, we want to create a memorable image of our present: We all continue our climate-damaging lifestyles, despite of all our knowledge about the consequences.
The polar caps are melting, extreme weather incidents intensify, the sea level is rising, and along with it, the number of climate victims. It takes a forceful and shocking performance, as we present it here, to condense the wicked problems within a clear and lucid image.
To ensure the performance didn’t put anyone involved in danger, the students worked closely with the sustainable ice cream company Floridaeis, who made the ice blocks specifically for this purpose.
The students also wore safety spikes underneath their shoes, which enabled them to stand on the ice blocks without slipping. The knot in the rope was then tied in a way which ensured it could not contract.
Not only that, but there was no fear of the rope harming anyone involved because it was a dummy rope; in case one of the students did fall, the rope would have fell down with them as two magnets separated the gallows from the rope.
A team was on hand at all times for any mental, physical and medical emergencies so the group’s well-being was always taken care of.
The students continued:
Climate change is in full swing. So far, almost nothing has changed. Everybody is involved and part of it. We wanted to have an art performance in a public space, [which] parallels the audience with a mirror.
The next 11 years until the year 2030 is an extremely short time to learn from mistakes… The problem of polar cap melt we addressed by a social sculpture in the public space.
Anne and Sophia’s efforts were applauded by Extinction Rebellion Nederland, who shared a picture of their performance on social media.
The picture soon gained massive traction, with thousands of people praising the students for drawing attention to such an important issue.
" Ice on the rope " – Students on the gallows
We stand with a rope around our neck on melting blocks of ice.
A climate-political art performance in Koln 06-07
— Extinction Rebellion Nederland (@NLRebellion) July 8, 2019
UNILAD spoke to Areeba Hamid, a Greenpeace UK campaigner, who explained how we are living through the impact of climate change right now; it isn’t a future event as many believe.
Climate change means – and there is absolutely no doubt in the scientific community – it means frequent heat waves and it means a change in weather pattern.
We know that something’s wrong – climate change is happening and we know it’s happening. So I think the bigger question is what are we going to do about it?
The facts are on the table, this is a climate emergency as we’ve heard. What are we going to do about it, how are we going to deal with it, how are we going to reduce our carbon emissions rapidly?
Hats off to Anne and Sophia for emphasising the climate crisis we are currently facing in such a powerful and moving way.
It’s time we all take responsibility for our actions and join together to help save our planet.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).