As the impact of accelerating climate change is slowly revealing itself, we are confronted with how deeply our cultural identity is intertwined with the landscape. Imminent drastic alterations to the way we live cause profound feelings of unease, sadness, and detachment. Losing land to sea, losing ice to the sun, losing animals to history — how do we deal with this new notion of ecological grief?

RETREAT is a research into finding new ritualistic ways to preserve the landscape, offering actions, methods, and artifacts that help us deal with the emotions reference resulting from the changes in our environment as the result of global warming.

With 2 laptops, a tablet, a 3D scanner and a smartphone with a 4G signal the foot of a receding glacier in Switzerland was scanned as far as arms could reach and computational power would allow. Resulting in fragments of an ever-changing landscape, the scanned surfaces may continue to evolve digitally, as part of a new virtual world, or physically, as a re-interpretation of time and place. The journey, the risk, the awe, the act of pushing 3D scanning and printing to its technological limits, together form a ritual for dealing with ecological grief; the result describing the emotional relationship between man and environment.

emotions Ecological grief is only now starting to get recognized as a mental health issue. I believe many can unite within this emotional state of being.

reach The scanning is done by attaching a module to a tablet, moving the body to manually record the surface of the glacier. There is a limit to how much data can be processed in one go, which determines the size of the independent scans.

The second glacier lake is forming, as retreat of the glacier continues
Even though it is a small glacier, its size is incomprehensible.
Connecting all the equipment to the 4G network at the foot of the glacier.

"As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can".

John Muir

Glaciers are at the forefront of climate change, especially in the Alps where the average rise in temperature is over 3 degrees and the reduction of ice has been accelerating since 2004. The disappearance of glaciers will have large repercussions for local life: from a shortage of drinking water to collapsing mountains, from floods to problems with energy supply and cooling nuclear reactors.

Once, a large part of the Northern continent was covered in glaciers, and they are in a large part responsible for shaping the landscape as we know it, and on which we have based our cultural identity. Their melt feeds famous rivers on which people are dependent for food, drinking water and transport.

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