PolARTS tandems and project descriptions - Edition 2022


Project description

Benjamin Burger
Interdisciplinary artist

Lisa Bröder
Research Scientist in Biogeoscience group; Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich

The starting point of their joint investigation is the dramatic change occurring in regions that were once considered «permanent» and where the influence of permafrost thaw is currently being researched. From there, the tandem will seek to translate the trauma of damage caused by climate change into words, images and narratives, opening up an aesthetic space for it.

Maëlle Cornut
Visual artist and research in the arts

Gianalberto Losapio
Head of Biodiversity Change group; University of Lausanne

The tandem will look at the consequences of glacier extinction on ecosystems, analyzing the network of interactions between the intertwined organisms and glaciers. Through this joint research, they exchange ideas and methods and reflect on their theoretical backgrounds including ecofeminism, decolonizing ecology, climate and environmental justice with the aim of translating scientific questions, results, and implications into art work. Their joint fieldtrip will take place at Arolla and Ferpècle glaciers.

Céline Ducret
Multi-disciplinary artist

Stefan Fugger
PhD candidate in Glacio-hydrological modelling; ETH Zürich and Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape research WSL

Taking their contrasting perceptions of icy landscapes to field, the tandem, together with WSLs HIMAL team, will research and document the role of glaciers as an iconic and tangible source of information about the state and history of our climate. Focussing around the question of what is a «true» source of information, they will challenge each other’s artistic and scientific concepts during visits to the glaciers and waters of the Alps and the Pamirs. They will synthesize their research into a material archive, proposing an alternative way of understanding a transforming environment.

Marie Schumann
Visual artist

Dr. Francesca Pellicciotti
Glaciologist, Hydrologist, Environmental Engineer; Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape research and Northumbria University

In their collaboration, the tandem will work with their respective materials – ice, snow, debris and textile – in an attempt to slowly dissect the layers of memory. Through a process book which will be handed back and forth, they visualize the method of «working-in-process» in both fields, art and science. This will merge perspectives and bring out new ways of understanding each other. Their field research in Tajikistan will lead to material translations, being it visual, tangible or written, enabled by their transdisciplinary work.


PolARTS tandems and project descriptions - Edition 2020


Project description

Sabine Harbeke
Author, director and Deputy Head of Directing Practice at the Zurich University of the Arts

Margit Schwikowski
Head of the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Paul Scherrer Institut

Through their collaboration, they aim to become acquainted with each other’s methods, production and research world. In terms of content, the cooperation will focus on anthropogenic climate change. The joint process, as well as a possible ice-drilling expedition to Mongolia, will be documented, reflected on and fictionalised in an artistic journal and may result in a theatre production.

Mario von Rickenbach

Game designer
Co-Founder of the Playables game studio and lecturer at ECAL
Carolin Willibald
PdD student in snow physics at the Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research, Davos

Why is snow white? And what does a perfect snowball look like? Simple questions that lead to complex answers. Characterising the microstructure of snow lies at the heart of the collaboration. With its project, the tandem envisages new perspectives on the constantly changing matter of snow and its complex interaction with the environment. Space is also provided for an element of playfulness.

Barbara Schibli

Prof. Gabriela Schaepman-Strub
Professor of Earth System Sciences, University of Zurich

In its joint project, the tandem aims to capture the stillness and the sounds of the Arctic tundra, an ecosystem that is especially vulnerable to global climate warming. A research expedition to Siberia is planned, as well as an audio play or podcast project that is to convey the soundscape of this vast and fascinating region.

Gianna Molinari

Christoph Oeschger
Visual artist, photographer and PhD student at the Zurich University of the Arts

Fien De Doncker
PhD student in geography, University of Lausanne

Data, language and images are the core competences of the three participants. Their joint interest lies in making the invisible visible. This provides the methodological framework for their collaboration. In terms of content, the tandem will deal with the conventional image of a pristine Arctic, while the region is, in fact, coming under increasing ecological, economic and political pressure. The joint work process and the planned expedition to Greenland will be documented in a digital research catalogue, which is also to contain an encyclopaedia of jointly researched terms and concepts. Their platform will be supplemented by a collection of (real-world) research objects.

Images from PolARTS. Description from left to right:

  • Scientist Margit Schwikowski and author Sabine Harbeke working together with an ice core that had just been removed. © Sabine Harbeke, all rights reserved
  • Field trip in a Greenlandic fjord during summer 2020. © Christoph Oeschger, all rights reserved
  • Comment from the photographer, Christoph Oeschger: “This photograph was taken in Greenland, a landscape that has become so iconic that it is almost impossible to find new images. A landscape that is engraved in our heads but melting in reality.” © Christoph Oeschger, all rights reserved
  • Aurora borealis at night. © Christoph Oeschger, all rights reserved