RETREAT is a research into dealing with ecological grief.
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 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 technology that enables us to observe, document and recreate the landscape, is the exact reason the landscape is changing. 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 interrelation between man and environment.
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 to which we lend our cultural identity. Their melt feeds famous rivers on which people are dependent for food, drinking water and transport.