Stunning Images Of An “Urban Ice Age” Highlight Humanity’s Smallness

Published May 19, 2015
Updated January 19, 2018
Published May 19, 2015
Updated January 19, 2018
ice age artist spires

Architectural spires break through the surface, almost as if they are coming up for air Source: Huffington Post

Whether you believe it’s plausible or not, French artist Francois Ronsiaux wants us to imagine a world in which the ice caps have melted, drowning our urban spaces–and to internalize the ramifications. This is the goal of his solemn, haunting and humbling series, United Land.

ice age artist sharks

Sharks dance at the opera house Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist times square

Times Square is no longer a hub for human activity Source: Huffington Post

Said Ronsiaux, “Throughout the 21st century, man, with his never-ending drive to control his living environment, finds himself facing the possibility of a temporary existence, as well as the potentiality that life on Earth could end progressively or even abruptly.”

ice age artist cars

Cars line a deserted street Source: Huffington Post

Some will argue that the apocalyptic scenario that Ronsiaux depicts is unlikely, but these critics are missing the point. United Land is no call to action to prevent anything; it reminds us of our ephemeral existence and, ultimately, our deferential relationship to natural elements.

ice age artist courtyard

Giving a new meaning to the term “courtyard pool” Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist church

A serene area made even more so by the implies underwater depths Source: Huffington Post

“Symbolizing man’s loss of control of the environment, water becomes a regulating vector replacing man’s habitat following a hypothetical ice thaw,” Ronsiaux said. “Through this immersion the idea of belonging to a political and human territory loses all meaning. It becomes abstract.”

ice age artist frisor

Street flooded with icy waters Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist watchtowers

Watchtowers for the apocalypse Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist centered

Standing as a lone survivor Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist cylindrical

A desert of ice surrounds what was once an architectural standout Source: Huffington Post

Ronsiaux employs long-shot perspective, filters and layering of water scenes that he captured on a trip to French Polynesia, a location that is living through the toll of rising sea levels. The seeming lack of movement in Ronsiaux’s backdrops evoke a world without people. We see marine life where humans once were, conjuring images of legendary empires long since swallowed by the sea.

ice age artist cityscape

Watery sky cityscape Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist ruins

Watery ruins Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist bridge

Currents are no longer reserved for being strictly under the bridges Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist ferris wheel

A Ferris wheel awaits riders that will never show up Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist streetlights

Streetlights would be directing schools of fish instead of traffic Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist pyramid

The tops of skyscrapers now appear to be only simple lodgings on an icy road Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist lighthouse

A glacier standing tall next to a structure that now resembles a lighthouse Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist cell

Communication towers that no longer serve a purpose Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist glacier

A flood for the ages Source: Huffington Post

ice age artist cracks

These cracks are much more intimidating than those found on any urban sidewalk Source: Huffington Post

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.