Cryospheric Phenomena Credit: Nico Alexandroff

Nico Alexandroff



Indexical Ice

Evidencing and acting on the climate emergency via the index of Greenland’s ice.

Greenland’s ice is melting at a rate never seen before by humanity. The current process of evidencing and acting upon planetary-scale changes is riddled in bureaucratic systems of science and politics and is far slower than the temporality of the climate emergency. Indexical Ice proposes an alternative system, using three environmental phenomena that occur on Greenland’s south-west coast in combination with three sites of mineral extraction. The project explores a series of parasitic sensors that expose both the environmental phenomena and the industrial activity. It challenges current systems of scientific visualisations which often result in information overloads and an over-reliance of climate modelling to influence political action. This research hence questions the relationship between the problem and the model. The project culminates by deploying this methodology of climate aesthetics at various venues of discourse, places that are necessary for enabling action.


Nico Alexandroff is a research-architect based in London. His work has featured in exhibitions in Glasgow, Prague and Karlsruhe, and has written for publications including Columbia GSAPP and the RIBA. As well as being a design tutor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Nico recently established AfterBodies—a design-research collective. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, researching cosmologies of ice in relation to climate collapse.
In 2021 he has taken part in the 5 month design research program; The Terraforming which is an initiative of the Strelka Institute in Moscow. It is a think-tank that employs 30 multidisciplinary researchers from around the globe to use media as a way to present planetary-scale problems and reframe solutions.
Nico’s particular research included ‘Future Premium’ a project which views insurance industry as a design medium as a way to prepare for the future and ‘The Arctic is Planetary Infrastructure’ which makes the statement: “as the Arctic shrinks it grows. It is now closer than ever to all of earth's inhabitants. It grows through its felt interaction with territories spread far around the globe.” The work is part of a larger body of work which can be found on the Strelka Institute website.
Nico has contributed to the exhibition ‘Museums for Climate Actions’, with the entry, ‘Museums of Open Windows’ which is currently on display at Glasgow Science Centre and written an accompanying essay for the catalogue. It will run until November 2021 when COP26 takes place.

Links to other work and exhibition projects:

ANTHROPOLOGY OF ICE at the Fotograf Gallery Praha curated by Lukáš Likavčan.


Talk between Petra Vinšová and Lukáš Likavčan In the fotograf gallery Praha where Indexical ice is currently being exhibited


An essay on Indexical Ice as well as a podcast about the design process.

Strelka Work

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Ines Weizman