In a sketch for a film, Michelangelo Antonioni notes: “The Antarctic glaciers are moving in our direction at a rate of three millimeters per year. Calculate when they’ll reach us. Anticipate, in a film, what will happen.”
Metaphorically speaking, to feel cold means to feel deeply alienated. Alienation was already a dominant concern for sociologists around 1900: the alienation of man from society through individualization, alienation from nature through urbanization, alienation from work through mechanization. For philosophers like Theodor W. Adorno, alienation thus turns into a key concept in terms of the role art plays in and for society: Without alienation there is no art, and ultimately it is only art that prevents total alienation.
Repro: Installation view: Antarctica. An Exhibition on Alienation, Kunsthalle Wien 2018, Photo: Jorit Aust