We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Someone needed to cool off

Now this is what I call ‘global justice’:

A thirsty thief is being blamed for downing a bottle of water, valued at £42,500, at a literary festival.

The two-litre clear plastic bottle containing melted ice from the Antarctic was devised to highlight global warming by artist Wayne Hill….

The piece, entitled Weapon of Mass Destruction, vanished half way through the festival. Mr Hill fears the bottle was taken and then drunk.

“It was there and then it was gone,” he said.

Just like dozens of claptrap, modish, end-of-the-world theories then.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

19 comments to Someone needed to cool off

  • Julian Morrison

    Quite a good object lesson, too. The artist only saw the destruction, but the thief saw the use. As (s)he demonstrated, if the ice caps were to melt, humanity would pick up the pieces. Lemons => lemonade.

    Land rush on Antarctica, anyone?

  • rosignol

    A thirsty thief is being blamed for downing a bottle of water, valued at £42,500, at a literary festival.

    Valued by who, exactly? Surely the ‘artist’ didn’t think that hist putting the ice in a bottle added £42,499 to the going rate…

  • MaDr

    I actually think the purportedly purloined potent was an innocent victim of global warming. I’m still anxiously awaiting the Left’s last “big” apocalyptic environmental disaster – the new Ice Age. Hey, anything that grabs headlines and those all so desireable research grants and political contributions.

    Not saying that we’re not in a cyclic warming phase now, only that pollution’s not “the cause”. Why are some of today’s “high temperatures” referenced as the highest in (500) years. What was polluting back then?

  • Julian Morrison

    AFAIK the “price” came from the supposed cost of damage from a total meltdown divided by the number of bottles-ful of ice on the icecaps – damage per bottleful as it were.

  • Bernie

    I love “The piece”

  • RPW

    MaDr,

    There’s some interesting scientific evidence that the next ice age is actually being held at bay by man-made global warming – see here for an article recently published in Scientific American on this subject.

    Money quote – “New evidence suggests that concentrations of CO2 started rising about 8,000 years ago, even though natural trends indicate they should have been dropping. Some 3,000 years later the same thing happened to methane, another heat trapping gas. The consequences of these surprising rises have been profound. Without them, current temperatures in northern parts of North America and Europe would be cooler by three or four degrees celsius – enough to make agriculture difficult. In addition, an incipient ice age – marked by the appearance of small ice caps – would have begun several thousand years ago in parts of northeastern Canada. Instead the earth’s climate has remain relatively warm and stable in recent millennia.”

    The significance of the 8,000 YA figure BTW is that that is roughly the point at which humans began to clear woodland for agriculture at a large scale.

    Oh and, it’s always fun to watch an environmentalist foam at the mouth when you explain all this to him and point out that global warming is actually saving the environment – after all, there ain’t much biodiversity under a three mile thick sheet of ice:-)

  • Julian Taylor

    Its value was worked out by the artist from the damage worldwide of the entire ice sheet melting – he estimates between £6 trillion and £9 trillion – and the relative amount of damage from two litres of water.

    Of course artistic content can never be replaced by mere financial recompense, can it? I’d just love to see the reaction of the loss adjuster when this Wayne Hill files his claim for ‘art theft’.

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    Reminds me of a scene out of Waterboy when Adam Sandler is revived by a vial of arctic water.

    The question is, did it taste good, and if it is worth that much, is there a market for it?

  • Samsung

    Bottled Antarctic Iced Water…. Cool!. Sounds like a real thirst quenching – delicious and refreshing drink.

    “Art” my arse.

    Where can I buy some?

  • Anthony

    “It looked like an ordinary bottle of water. But it was on a plinth, labelled, described and in the programme of the whole festival.”

    Yes, well, our hero plainly failed to understand that today the commentary is far more important than the objet d’art. Without all the reading, one might accidentally use the “public toilet” that is supposed to be a metaphor for life under George Bush, or drink the bottled water that is supposed to “highlight global warming.”

    For my own part, I read all the text eagerly. It’s rude to laugh at strangers.

  • Anthony:

    Yes, well, our hero plainly failed to understand that today the commentary is far more important than the objet d’art.

    Come come come: you are all missing the point: the “thief” was the REAL artist here. What is drinking the water if not a powerful, yet subtle, commentary on the state of modern art today?

    P-G

  • The two-litre clear plastic bottle containing melted ice from the Antarctic

    Two thoughts: First, sez who? I can fill a plastic bottle out of my tap and put a label under it myself.

    Second, if this is true, doesn’t it seem likely that the artiste, by melting a bit of the glacier, is contributing to the very problem he decries?

    P-G has it right. The drinker is the real artist here. Talk about your scathing commentaries on (a) modern art (b) consumer culture or (c) the lack of decent amenities in art galleries.

  • Wow cool uber-expensive water from Antartica: a new market.

  • K.

    One thing that’s more annoying than claptrap, modish, end-of-the-world theories is claptrap, modish, overpriced faux-art. At least there is the chance that the environmentalists are saving us from *something* – what are the conceptual artists doing? Laughing their way to the bank, that’s what.

  • Elaine

    £42,500 for a bottle of “melted Antaraic ice” water! This guy is an artist all right! A con artist!

  • Quentin

    And I though ‘Performance Art’ was all the rage!

  • As Paul Zrimsek pointed out over at Tim Worstall’s site (which comment I initially misunderstood), this ‘artist’ is an innumerate moron. If we divide the £9 trillion by the purported £42500/litre figure, we get a volume of ice which would be around 60m on a side. The true volume of the Antarctic ice sheet is more like 3 × 10^18 dm^3, yielding a ‘value’ for the bottled water comfortably under a thousandth of a penny.

  • Steve

    I would never drink water from the Antartic unless it is properly filtered and regulated and state approved. You just never know what those penguins have been doing in it.

  • JEM

    If we divide the £9 trillion by the purported £42500/litre figure, we get a volume of ice which would be around 60m on a side. The true volume of the Antarctic ice sheet is more like 3 × 10^18 dm^3, yielding a ‘value’ for the bottled water comfortably under a thousandth of a penny.

    It’s even worse than that. Where did this mythical £9 trillion — a highly unconvincing £1,500 per head for every human being on the planet today — spring from?