The case study for DISTURBED HARMONIES [ANTHROPOCENE LANDSCAPES] focuses on the visual history of a glacier, Alpine explorations, and the heritage of Enlightenment.
The case study retraces the history of Pasterze through images and quotations. Austria’s largest glacier is a prominent example for the threatened cryosphere of the Alps.
The spirit of Enlightenment sparked humanity‘s fascination for remote and previously avoided territories. The same worldview promoted the exploitation of human and natural resources on a global scale. Its unintended side effects have meanwhile caused the disappearance of various natural phenomena. Glaciers provide an outstanding example for this ambiguity: having become the subject of scientific interest not even 250 years ago, they will soon have vanished from most parts of the Earth – long before scientists can unlock their prevailing secrets.
The visual history of Pasterze illustrates these simultaneous processes of appropriation and vanishment. Visual representations have served humans to better understand and orientate within unknown and hostile environments to gradually take hold of them and eventually exploit and consume them. Meanwhile, most images of Pasterze became records of loss.
The project started as a collaboration with the Vienna Anthropocene Network of the University of Vienna. It contributed to the „Vanishing Ice“ workshop at the Naturhistorisches Museum and the University of Vienna in January 2020. The final presentation was a mixed-media installation at Kunst Haus Wien – Museum Hundertwasser in the same year.