The periphery refers to human activities and is linked to the dichotomy between the centre and marginal. The situation of the places in this dichotomy changes along the human activities. The Icephery concept is derived from the periphery. Where the periphery refers to human activities, the Icephery refers to the temperature, deviation from average temperature to cold. When we lose touch with the average temperature we have powerful bodily experiences: Hot water burns, and cold water freezes. We sense these temperature changes bodily, with our thermoceptive sensation. Thus, the Icephery concept expresses cold-related change.
Thermoception is the sense of heat and cold. It gives us information about the temperature outside and inside the body. Thermoception is a component of our thermoregulation. It helps to keep our body functioning (normally). When the temperature is over 45°C or under –5°C, warm and cold receptors send signals which we experience as pain. There are also internal thermoreceptors that help to tell the brain what the body temperature is. Thus, thermoception saves us from extreme heat and cold and helps the hypothalamus to regulate our body temperature (Ince 2011).
Thermoception has an interesting dialogue with imagination. In her thesis, Sanna Lehtinen (2015, 42–43) has noticed that, when we sit by the sea on a hot summer day, if one knows or imagines that water is ice cold, the water becomes unapproachable and unfriendly. The viewer experiences cold chills from mere imagination.
When I shoot on a remote, frozen lake, my aesthetic orientation to the environment is dominated by the sphere of Icephery. The beauty lies in a frozen water and in its cold visions. Icephery mediates information from my innesphere while my skin is the interface between the kinesphere and innesphere.
Allegorically, the Icephery has a relation to death, too, because when the water freezes, the photosynthesis ends and life ends. If water is a prerequisite for life, metaphorically, the memory of the world is stored in the ice crystals (see Rekola 2007). Thus, as allegory, the ice provides a two-faceted representation of life—as the pure, life-sustaining force (Rekola 2007) and as the realm of death, as we see in many myths, stories and poems. In Dante’s Inferno, the lowest part of Hell was an icy prison.
In the material we associate images in our mind. Ice seen through the concept of Icephery produces a process where one connects the information received by the thermoception sensation with mental and cultural shared meanings. The rotation of images and sensations blend together. Material and culture, nonhuman and human, are intertwined.