Voices From the Extinct Glaciers

Voices From the Extinct Glaciers
Dolomiti di Fassa - La Marmolada (m. 3342). 89x139 mm, b/n. (1950-1960 ca.) Biblioteca Digitale Trentina, Italy – Public Domain.
A research project gathering different voices to map the future of the Alpine Landscape after the disappearance of Glaciers.

Matteo Vianello
Venezia, Italy
Team members
Matteo Vianello
Field of work
Architecture, Urban planning, Landscape architecture, Ecology, Research
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

(he/him) Researcher, curator and writer based in Venezia, Italy. I hold a BA and MA in Architecture Culture from IUAV University of Venice and a PhD in Urbanism and Landscape Design from the international course Villard de Honnecourt — IUAV.
My research activity focuses on the relationships between ecologies and design through the study of the representations and perceptions of landscape in the Modern Age. I approach the study of landscape by writing and curating academic and non-academic publications, exhibitions and teaching programs.
In 2022 I obtained a PhD at IUAV University of Venice, where I investigated the relationship between the physical and virtual infrastructures of oceanic ecologies and their political construction, titled "Returns to Seaspace: Urban Approaches to the Marine Environment". In the same year I co-curated "Matters of Lives: Encounters on the Edge of the Pluriverse" (4–21 September 2022), a situated project taking place in the Venetian lagoon where international artists and designers were asked to reflect collectively on the aesthetics and politics between humans and non-humans through a series of talks, performances and workshops.
Currently, I am carrying on a long-term research project on Alpine glaciers situated between the border of Austria and Italy, focussing in particular on the narratives of their disappearance.
Since 2016, I work as assistant professor and lecturer for several universities, including IUAV University of Venice and Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México.
I am the co-author of "Architecture is Just a Pretext" (Anteferma, 2019) and "Matters of Lives: Notes and Records on the Pluriverse" (2023) and I am about to publish my first monograph by the end of 2023, titled "Primo Bollettino dei Ghiacciai Estinti" (First Bulletin of Extinct Glaciers) for Wetlands Editions.

Since the Modern Age, Alpine glaciers have always generated simultaneously physical and mythical landscapes based on their continuous transformation. However, due to the detrimental effects caused by global warming, plentiful studies forecast their melting within the next twenty years. As we watch these projections come to life year after year, the disappearance of glaciers seems to presage also the loss of practices and cultures linked to the imaginary of these territories. In other words, we are witnessing simultaneously the extinction of a territory as well as the disappearance of a landscape.

“Voices From the Extinct Glaciers” is a research project concerned with the imaginary of the Alpine landscape after the melting of its glaciers, which triggers a crisis in the tools with which the landscape is conceived and narrated. For this reason, the research collects the practices of transformation and representation that have defined glacier landscapes, reconstructing relationships between the climatic, political, and cultural dimensions of the Alpine region.
Exactly as the mountaineer’s Bulletins have historically succeeded in collecting interdisciplinary images of Alpine glacial landscapes, this research chooses to recreate an imaginary Bulletin including different types of sources. In particular, the Bulletin contains a series of interviews with glaciologists, landscape designers and artists (among which Günther Vogt, Ludwig Berger and Xabier Erkizia), the consultation of historical archives related to the Alpine territory, and the selection of an interdisciplinary bibliography.
By discussing the representation of glaciers as a dying ecology, the research outcome is a record of possible interpretive tools to read the present and future of glaciers, offering a new perception and narrative of its landscape.