03/01/2014 17:49 EST | Updated 05/01/2014 05:59 EDT

Melting Tropics in Montreal

A new installation in downtown Montreal is melting. 

Matthieu Rytz has mounted photos on blocks of ice to highlight the global impact of climate change though the stories of two island nations in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Montreal photographer created the exhibition after a trip to the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Kiribati in January, where he saw the low-lying atolls are slipping into the sea as waters levels rise because of melting arctic ice.

These 20 large-scale photographs are lit in a way that is meant to evoke the progressive melting of the glaciers.

Motion sensors allow visitors to alter the intensity of the light hitting the photographs. 

The installation will appear in Quartier des spectacles until almost the end of March, when the ice covering the artworks will likely melt over time, changing the appearance of the installation. 

"The installation will evolve with time because spring will come and the whole installation will melt," Rytz told CBC Montreal's All in a Weekend.

Rytz says he hopes the exhibition will illustrate the global nature of climate change, by connecting Arctic and Tropical themes. 

"We build a connection between the ice that melts in the North Pole, and the people who live at the Equator," says Rytz I'm trying to make people understand that we are all connected... whatever we are doing affects the whole world."

An urgent message

He hopes to bring more attention to the urgency of the climate change problem and feels it is not being addressed by the leaders of the world's most powerful countries.

"If we don't listen, the next target is not going to be a small atoll in the Pacific, it's Manhattan, Toyko, Miami, Hong Kong. It will be the biggest cities, because most of the world's population is living near the coast at very low levels," said Rytz 

"Climate change is an issue of national security but it seems nobody cares about it. At the international meetings it seems like people talk more about polar bears than humans."

Melting Tropics presented from February 26 to March 23, 2014, located just outside the Saint-Laurent metro station. Admission is free, and the installation is also included in the Nuit Blanche presented as part of the Montreal en Lumière festival. 

Catch the full interview on All in a Weekend live on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 8:45 on 88.5FM in Montreal or online.