Antarctica in Chicago’s Loop: Experience Cracking Ice Shelves and Melting Glaciers Brought on by Climate Change

Kickstarter Campaign Launched to Fund Monumental Public Art Installation on 2 N. Riverside Plaza

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has partnered with Chicago-based art collaborative Luftwerk to bring White Wanderer, a free public art installation that allows visitors to experience the sounds, scale and scope of climate change. The groups have set up a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the installation along the Chicago River.

White Wanderer allows people to hear and see how climate change is impacting our world right now, and contemplate how the consequences of climate change - like flooding and sea level rise -- will dramatically change the way our lives will be lived in the not-too-distant future,” said Rob Moore, Senior Water Policy Expert at NRDC.

White Wanderer takes inspiration from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, which broke off into the Wendell Sea in July, 2017. Using real life recordings of the sounds and frequencies of melting and moving glaciers, Luftwerk will create a haunting and contemplative soundtrack of climate change few have heard. 

These incredible glacier sounds will accompany a scaled representation of the 120-mile crack in the Larsen C ice shelf, which will be positioned directly onto the building façade at 2 N. Riverside Plaza in Chicago. Each day, 30,000 people pass through the plaza, making it an ideal location for a public art installation.

In June, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, weakening global efforts to combat climate change. White Wanderer was developed as a public art intervention to help people experience the colossal effects of climate change in an innovative way, while bolstering support for much-needed climate conversation and action. 

Petra Bachmaier of Luftwerk noted, “By bringing this remote Antarctic place to an urban center like Chicago, we hope to instill a sense of wonder of the natural world to inspire people to take action to protect these extraordinary places.”

If the Kickstarter goal is met, White Wanderer will be on view - free of charge - at 2 N. Riverside Plaza from September 7 through October 1, 2017. It will also be on view at Navy Pier as part of EXPO CHICAGO from September 13 through September 17, and included in programming as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the City of Chicago’s Year of Public Art. White Wanderer was created in collaboration with NRDC, with additional help from Douglas MacAyeal at the University of Chicago.

Additional Link:

White Wanderer Kickstarter Page:

Learn more about NRDC’s efforts by visiting For more information about Luftwerk visit:


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Luftwerk is the Chicago-based artistic collaboration of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. The artists explore light, color, and perception in immersive, experience-based installations. Luftwerk has created large-scale installations at sites like Millennium Park, the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe, and the Garfield Park Conservatory by Jens Jensen. Their projects have been featured widely and have received recognition by the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network.