In what seems like a natural reaction to the extreme weather events in Australia, from wildfires to off-the-color temperatures to “agonized dryness,” the northern latitudes produced their own antipodean freak shows. One of the more hyperborean images is arguably that of a Chicago building encased in ice. Firefighters were called to put out a blaze in an abandoned warehouse, but with subzero temperatures plaguing the region for days, the water from their hoses froze once it hit the building. If there's a spectacular way to announce the end to the city's record streak of snowless days, then that is it.
It certainly recalls, among other things, the Detroit house, also abandoned, plastered with frozen water by artists Greg Hold and Matthew Radune in 2010, and the speleological winterscape found more recently inside the Fulton Market Cold Storage Company building, again in Chicago. The later wasn't caused by a natural meteorological event per se, but it does speak to the growing strangeness that awaits us in the climate changed future and to the even more bizarre schemes we'll take up to keep ourselves warm, cool, dry and irrigated.
Might trees be soon genetically manipulated to grow roots of icy stalactites to air condition Central Park in a New York City of average 115°F days?
Speaking of New York, there's that frozen fountain in Bryant Park. What better way to revive some of the deader corners of the city in winter than a fountain metastasizing into a Fortress of Solitude, something fit for Tilda Swinton? (Cai Guo-Chang's pyrotechnics?) But let's not forget about all the Arctic hysteria in the UK.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these collectively compelled someone to troll the internet:
Back in US. What happened to global warming?London, D.C, New York seem like new ice age!Rockies too.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) January 26, 2013
That he is Australian (never mind his US citizenship), so presumably is fully aware of what's happening in his native country, his tweet is all the more astonishing. No doubt he's trying to outdo @realDonaldTrump.
Then again, he's half right: those firefighters weren't trying to douse a five-alarm fire, rather they were testing out prototype ice-making machines for a future Glacier National Park in Chicago. A huge swathe of the city will be cleared of its foreclosed houses, to be replaced, in the garden tradition of fake ruin follies, with fake abandoned buildings, which will be structurally reinforced to bear the weight of mini-glaciers. To add variety, some landforms will be contoured.
For the better part of the year, it's a replicant post-industrial wasteland, a playground for the Instagram set. But each winter, even after (no, especially after) Chicago has climatically migrated to Birmingham, Alabama, this urban national park will be sheathed in a “new ice age.”
Unfortunately, as this is a parallel world cued by Rupert Murdoch, no Romantics will come to wonder around in a frozen Forum, no Thoreaus to abseil up vertiginous frozen lakes for deep Waldian introspection, no paleoclimate revelers for a Pleistocene Festival as marvelous as London's Frost Fairs.
Instead, they will come in droves. They are the bankers and the giant money managers from Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Bain Capital, the high-powered cogs in the engine of finance who sit behind desks with their ice picked scars unseen beneath crisp custom suits, the cubicle-bound King Leonidases yearning to wear shirts that read, “I don't get drunk, I get awesome” and “STDS” (short for “Super Tough Dudes”), to belt out “OO-rahs!” and to have a celebratory drink of Dos Equis after navigating one of the deeper urban crevasses, which are 9/11 on knees, which is not that different from the messy slog of foreclosing homes. In short, the offsprings of Rupert Murdoch's wet dreams in homoerotic glee.