Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle has a long-standing interest in Modernism’s opposition between life and form.

Form is fundamental to cognition as an act of distinction differentiating a unity of elements from its environment. It is the interface through which we grasp the indivisible process of life. But rather than attempting to arrive at an essence of life through the removal of form, Iñigo takes pleasure in the contradiction, rendering life as form. Form then becomes a metaphor for social and political networks which participate in the production of meaning and whose organisation can be characterised through operational closure. That is, the effects of interaction are contained within the network and co-determine its form.

Apart from sport (and in England house prices), the weather is probably the main subject of our small-talk. The weather forecast has to be the staple news of the world, yet we understand very little of it. Opinions on global warming and climate change are slowly beginning to converge, but the ways in which our actions are bound up with the earth’s climate are mind- bogglingly complex. Even the most logical measures, such as those presented in Kyoto, are mired in controversy. Weather acts indiscriminately but our image of it is structured both socially and politically; in other words, our image is not a neutral representation of a reality ‘out there’ but cognition brought forth through the process of living itself.

Iceberg(s) (2004) for Interntional 04 was a set of two metal sculptures modelled from data of iceberg scans provided by the Canadian Hydraulics Center of the Canadian National Research Council. Conceived as the continuation of a body of work begun with Titanium Clad Cloud Sculpture (2003), the work has developed as an open crystalline network. Iceberg(s) had two corresponding parts, one suspended in the atrium of the Port of Liverpool building, surrounded by text from Psalm 107 (‘They that go down to the sea in ships. . .’), and a smaller companion in Tate Liverpool. ‘In creating the physical sculpture we capture the phenomena of an ephemeral iceberg, rendering it back into a frozen moment, “refreezing” it as a moment suspended in time.’

The work was apprehended as the arrested translation between different media and knowledge domains. Thus, aside from its cultural, political or environmental reading, it is equally relevant that Iceberg(s) was rendered through complex computational software, mutating an initial set of data through into a set of coordinates making up 2400 tubes and 800 joints.

In Liverpool, Iceberg(s) reminded many of the Titanic, whose owners, the White Star shipping line, had their offices in Liverpool and whose victims are commemorated in a monument at the Pier Head. But as remembering this tragedy, Iceberg(s) was also a poignant and uncanny allusion to global processes of transformation. Knowable only as fragment, irreversibly broken off from a larger whole, this symbol of hidden dangers pointed to the unstable equilibrium of our existence. Increasingly frequent, icebergs affect the global thermohaline circulation, or Great Ocean Conveyor, the inter-oceanic current that keeps the UK from freezing over, with consequences perhaps as spectacular as those depicted in the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow.

Iceberg, 2004
Installation, stainless steel and aluminium with sound
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2004
Exhibited at Tate Liverpool

Iceberg (Prototype 2, No. 1), 2004
Installation, Titanium alloy and fibreglass
Courtesy of the artist and Max Protetch Gallery
Exhibited at Tate Liverpool



The Henry Moore Foundation
The Spanish Embassy