MELTING LANDSCAPES (Audiovisual research, since 2016)

Alpine glacier, hydrophones, field recordings, analog photography

A collective long-term documentation of the rapidly melting Morteratsch glacier in the Swiss alps. Connecting to the glacier’s body with its manifold textures and resonances, finding sonic intimacy.

The audiovisual research project Melting Landscapes reveals the inner sounds and textures of the Morteratsch glacier in Switzerland. We collectively used underwater microphones to record crevasses, glacier puddles and the ice of the glacier tongue. In this process, sounds became audible that were not perceivable from the outside with bare ears: melodic squeaking, clicking and rattling, gargling and gurgling, hissing and fizzing, deep droning. Numerous sounds of microscopic melting processes, repeatedly interrupted by large ice blocks breaking off.
The recordings have been published as a record with a photo book, as spatial sound installations, and as a concert series in dialogue with musicians. The project seeks to provide a new perspective on glaciers in the face of global heating. The bodily experience of the melting process with all its liveliness allows an intimate connection to an elusive phenomenon. In sound, one can experience the microscopic scale from which the climate catastrophe takes its course. The microscopic glacier sounds make the all-encompassing impact of capitalist societies in the natural world tangible, offering an embodied and intimate knowledge of our crisis.

Released as a Vinyl album with photo book, 2018.

"Best Field Recording & Soundscape Albums of the Decade" (A Closer Listen)

"Amazing, […] a triumph. Melting Landscapes is a success on all levels: concept, execution, presentation and sound. […] The Institute of Landscape Architecture is here to remind us of this potential catastrophe, inviting us to appreciate the value of ecological balance, and to fight for its preservation. […] This release would have been important whenever it appeared, but it’s especially relevant now." (Richard Allen, A Closer Listen)

"This project affirms a link between all things: water and land, man and nature, past and future. On a planet ruled by water, glaciers are now melting into a silent minority. But by bearing witness through the power of art, perhaps projects like Melting Landscapes can break through the noise in our increasingly bi-partisan culture." (Pop Matters) -

Best of 2019, "Astonishing Release" (SoundOhm) - "Best Records of 2018" (Volume Morto) - "Records of the year 2018" (Canti Illuminati) - "Top 2018 Albums" (Ousadia & Descobertas) - "Top 20 Albums of the Year", "Top Ten Field Recordings & Soundscape", "Best Winter Album of the Year" and "Best Packaging of the Year" 2018 – A Closer Listen - "A release that crosses the boundaries of science, sound art and education on geomorphology and climate change." (Geosounds)

Selected press: In-depth article at Pop Matters, Interview Greenpeace magazine german and french, Radio feature at ARD and Deutschlandfunk (German)

Documentary by Lutz Stautner, El Flamingo 2023

Winter excursion during snowstorm, 2016

Recording in Summer 2023, by Lutz Stautner

Students recording with self-made underwater microphones, 2016

Summer recording with Student Seonju Kim, 2017

Listener in the audiovisual installation in the Main hall of ETH Zurich, 2018

Sound shower installation (right) as part of "Climate Care", Vienna Biennale for Change 2021, MAK Vienna, 2021. Photo by Klearjos Papanicolaou

Solo live set at Spazio Materia, Prato, Italy. Photo by Francesca Lenzi

Live set with Chuchchepati Orchestra (Dieb 13, Julian Sartorius, Patrik Kessler) at Alpentöne Festival. Photo by Alpentöne

TV Report at Deutsche Welle, ZDF 2021.

Collective project of researchers and students at the Chair of Landscape Architecture Christophe Girot, ETH Zurich.
Concept and teaching team: Ludwig Berger, Dennis Häusler, Johannes Rebsamen, Matthias Vollmer
Composition, mixing and recording assistance: Ludwig Berger
Sound Mastering Assistance: Stéphane Claude
Participating Students: Christina Akesson, Michael Beerli, Shalin Bhatt, Philipp Bosshart, Lloyd Broda, Altair Cerda Tirado, Weilun Chen, Jenyben Dave, Devashree Dvivedi, Camino Escosa García, Nadia Gaiarin, Masahiro Gokita, Andrea Gonzalez Palos, Camilla Gormsen, Benjamin Graber, Dennis Häusler, Yufei He, Anna Hermann, James Horkulak, Marie Jacobsen, Seonju Kim, Aleksander Kongshaug, Bess Laaring, Jungwoo Lee, Xijie Ma, Viktoriya Maleva, Stephan Mauser, Marc Over, Vasiliki Papadimitriou, Bhoomi Parmar, Shailaja Patel, Thalia Poziou, Timon Ritscher, Laura Schütz, Dhruvil Soni, Jean-Marc Stadelmann, Dharal Surelia, Tulsi Vadalia, Oliver Walter, Jan Westerheide, Sonja Widmer

Recordings exhibited at:
ETH Zurich, Main Hall, Switzerland 2018
MAK Vienna Biennale for Change, Austria 2021
Cima Norma Art Festival, Switzerland 2022
Spazio Materia, Prato, Italy 2021
Bauhaus Museum Dessau, Germany 2021
EBP Zurich, Switzerland 2022
Urban Imaginaries, UABB Shenzhen, China 2022/23
Ice Memory Project, various cities in Italy, 2023