Xandra van der Eijk
Now that the impact of climate change is becoming increasingly clearer, we are realising how deeply our cultural identity is interwoven with the landscape. Losing land to the sea, losing ice to the sun, losing animals through extinction; these cause feelings of unease, sadness and detachment. A new form of mourning: ecological grief. RETREAT researches how we can use new rituals, actions, methods and artefacts to better understand our changing environment. With two laptops, a tablet, a 3D scanner and a smartphone, fragments of a retreating glacier in Switzerland have been manually scanned. The scanned surfaces can continue to evolve digitally, as part of a new virtual world. Or physically, as a reinterpretation of time and place.
The physical reporting of the disappearing glacier is a beautiful farewell ritual and a strong metaphor for ecological grief. Emotion is used strategically here as a research tool, working in harmony with the data collection. The committee sees a new working method in this, whereby emotion and ‘care’ play a leading role in viewing the world and upon which to base possible new strategies. Xandra has succeeded in optimising Design Research even further, thus penetrating to the ecological essence. It is not about the 3D prints, but about the emotion that remains after performing this ritual. A fascinating interplay between data and poetry.