The idea was simple enough: Freeze a car in a giant block of ice.
Two artists, Mary Carothers and Sue Wrbican, teamed up with Michigan Technological University and a local high school for the Frozen Car Project, which they envisioned as a bold statement on transportation and the environment. The project was to be unveiled at Michigan Tech’s winter carnival.
Ms. Carothers, an associate professor of fine arts at the University of Louisville, and Ms. Wrbican, an assistant professor of art and visual technology at George Mason University, chose the car, a 1978 Chevy Nova, partly for its famed guzzling of gas and partly because they had a broken one on hand. They had a location on Michigan Tech’s campus, and their message of environmental consciousness.
The problem was the ice. Freezing a car into a block of ice turns out to be rather tricky, the artists discovered (and describe on their blog). The plan had been to freeze water over the car in layers, but it took much too long for the coats of water they “misted” over the Nova to freeze — even in winter on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Fortunately, the city of Houghton, Mich., stepped in and donated some ice left over from other ice sculptures this winter, according to a local newspaper, The Daily Mining Gazette. The professors covered the car with the blocks of ice, achieving a look that reminds them of mineral formations.
In the end, Ms. Carothers and Ms. Wrbican got their frozen car. And while it’s still a commentary on climate change and our dependence on cars, they say, the project also speaks to the area’s mining heritage. —Beckie Supiano