Italian Limes – ZKM

Italian Limes is an ongoing research project and an interactive installation that explores the most remote Alpine regions, where national borders drift due to global warming and shrinking glaciers.

Italian Limes (where limes is the Latin word for ’borders’) is a project initiated and curated by Folder, originally commissioned as part of Fundamentals, the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, where it was awarded with a special mention by the International jury. The project focuses on the effects of climate change on shrinking glaciers and the consequent shifts of the watershed that defines the national borders of Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. Investigating the fragile balance of the Alpine ecosystem, Italian Limes shows how natural frontiers are subject to the complexity of continuous ecological processes, depending on the technologies and norms we use to represent it.

Invited to be part of the new exhibition Reset Modernity!, curated by the philosopher Bruno Latour in collaboration with AIME Team, the designers behind Italian Limes planned a new phase of the project, along with a new expedition on the glaciers of the Ötztal Alps, after the initial survey conducted in 2014.

italian-limes-gallery-12D_SL_0918-ModificaOn April 2nd, 2016 the Italian Limes team successfully installed a series of autonomous devices on the melting ice sheet at the foot of Mt. Similaun, 3,300m above sea level. The new measurement units will help to track the change in the tridimensional geometry of the glacier throughout Spring and Summer 2016.

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The expedition was undertaken with representatives from the Comitato Glaciologico Italiano, the OGS—National Institute of Oceanography and of Experimental Geophysics, and the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences of the University of Parma, who provided scientific coordination for the project. Further data was collected on the site during the expedition, and a geophysical survey of the glacier was performed. Along with providing the source of data for the installation at ZKM, Karlsruhe, that opened on April 16th, these measures will help to better understand climate change dynamics on the Alps.

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