Waiting for a Break is an interdisciplinary art project by Julia Christensen that transmits live feeds of Lake Erie’s winter ice as it forms, shifts, and eventually breaks––in real time––throughout the winter of 2017-2018. Christensen installed cameras on South Bass and Gibraltar Islands in the Sandusky Bay, and in the Maumee Bay, points on the western end of Lake Erie that are integral to tourism, industry, and the greater watershed ecosystem. The feeds from these networked cameras allowed the public to peer into the lake’s nuanced winter activity from the land.
In the Great Lakes region, everyone is waiting for that winter ice to break, the joyous sign that spring has finally come to the region. Ironically, reliable ice on the Great Lakes is a good thing, an indicator of a healthy climate and a healthy ecosystem.
A large outdoor video kiosk on Public Square broadcasted the live feeds all winter long, 24 hours a day, supported by a commission from LAND Studio (as a part of LANDFORM). A solo exhibition nearby at SPACES Gallery provided an immersive viewing of art pieces derived from the feeds in a gallery setting (as a part of the R+D Artist program). The live feeds ended in May 2018, but the videos Christensen created using the broadcasted footage is still exhibited in museums and galleries. Waiting for a Break continues to raise a platform for dialog about the health of the Great Lakes.