the glacier is a being

In a time where it has become inevitable that we rethink our relationship with planet earth, which we share with many other forms of life, I wonder whether we also need to question the definition of life itself. This might just be what we and this planet we live on need in order to really make change happen: An identification as a part of it, completely dependent on the functionality as a whole. With the abilities that the technological advances have brought us in the past 100-200 years comes great responsibility.

In that context, the rapidly changing glaciers and their recession are becoming a more and more present problem in the minds of the people. One instantly thinks about their melting and the correlation to climate change (let’s call this a passive process). This, of course, does make perfect sense, since glaciers are retreating – if the predictions are right, 90% of the glacier mass in CH will have disappeared by the end of the century. Glaciers are probably the clearest visual climate thermometer. For us humans, the greatest danger lies in the melting of the ice caps at the earths poles, which will lead to a sea level rise of several meters, putting hundreds of millions of (human) lives at risk. As important this perspective is, it is just one way of looking at glaciers.

This project aims to take a different perspective on glaciers, namely the active process they make, their “expression”, their influence on the landscape and how they mingle with it. They move, as a whole and internally. This motion is in human terms very slow, almost imperceptible. Glaciers, when they contain enough mass, behave like a heavily viscous liquid – they are very unique in that sense, there is nothing that behaves in a pseudo-plastic manner like glaciers. When a certain threshold of force is reached, they become brittle again – crevasses form. They are also a very important source of life – they hold 70% of the world’s freshwater reserves –  they are even home to biotic life. As long as we still can, let us appreciate these very unique and mysterious beings.