51°30’35”N 0°7’5”W

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Conversations with ice

Dave Waddell and Adam Scott
4:37:05 29 February 2024
45°45′00″ N 126°39′00″ E


The smell of cigarettes has gone. The unspoken confinement to our hotel is over. Lei Yang has stopped asking us to sleep with him. I don’t have to make a speech or dance or politely drink myself to death. We are alone with our chainsaws and a block of ice the size of a small house. A city made of ideas borrowed from a half-imagined place stands over us. Castles and pagodas and benches and walkways gleam white in the sun. The block is cold and unforgiving and silent. I fire up the chainsaw and lean into the ice. It begins to speak.


The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China takes place between late December and the last week of February. As well as featuring a city made from blocks mined out of Songhua River, it hosts international snow + ice sculpture competitions. 


Photo: Russ Lee, Erica Li


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