PolARTS: Selected Tandems 2022

Figura astratta con colori pastello
© Jean-Vincent Simonet

A total of 13 tandems of artists and researchers applied for participation in the PolARTS programme.

PolARTS offers artists the opportunity to go on an expedition together with polar explorers.

Among the applicants, four tandems whose submitted project stood out in terms of quality, originality and prospective synergies were ultimately selected by a transdisciplinary jury in cooperation with the PolARTS initiators Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Polar Institute.

The four tandems are:

Benjamin Burger / Lisa Bröder

Benjamin Burger (interdisciplinary artist) with Lisa Bröder (Research Scientist in Biogeoscience group; Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich) and their project «Ghostscapes»

The starting point of their joint investigation is the dramatic change occurring in regions that were once considered «permanent» and where the influence of permafrost thaw is currently being researched. From there, the tandem will seek to translate the trauma of damage caused by climate change into words, images and narratives, opening up an aesthetic space for it.

Maëlle Cornut / Gianalberto Losapio

Maëlle Cornut (visual artist and research in the arts) with Gianalberto Losapio (Head of Biodiversity Change group; University of Lausanne) and their project «Intertwined destinies: glaciers and their companion species»

The tandem will look at the consequences of glacier extinction on ecosystems, analyzing the network of interactions between the intertwined organisms and glaciers. Through this joint research, they exchange ideas and methods and reflect on their theoretical backgrounds including ecofeminism, decolonizing ecology, climate and environmental justice with the aim of translating scientific questions, results, and implications into art work. Their joint fieldtrip will take place at Arolla and Ferpècle glaciers.

Céline Ducret / Stefan Fugger

Céline Ducret (multi-disciplinary artist) with Stefan Fugger (PhD candidate in Glacio-hydrological modelling; ETH Zürich and Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape research WSL) and their project «Sensing in/formation»

Taking their contrasting perceptions of icy landscapes to field, the tandem, together with WSLs HIMAL team, will research and document the role of glaciers as an iconic and tangible source of information about the state and history of our climate. Focussing around the question of what is a «true» source of information, they will challenge each other’s artistic and scientific concepts during visits to the glaciers and waters of the Alps and the Pamirs. They will synthesize their research into a material archive, proposing an alternative way of understanding a transforming environment.

Marie Schumann / Dr. Francesca Pellicciotti

Marie Schumann (visual artist) with Dr. Francesca Pellicciotti (Glaciologist, Hydrologist, Environmental Engineer; Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape research and Northumbria University) and their project «Process. Material. Memory»

In their collaboration, the tandem will work with their respective materials – ice, snow, debris and textile – in an attempt to slowly dissect the layers of memory. Through a process book which will be handed back and forth, they visualize the method of «working-in-process» in both fields, art and science. This will merge perspectives and bring out new ways of understanding each other. Their field research in Tajikistan will lead to material translations, being it visual, tangible or written, enabled by their transdisciplinary work.