2021 residency

Water

This year the Foundation experiments with a new format for our residency and exhibition programme that acts as a response to creating art, climate discourse and building community during the time of social distancing.

We have invited Native American mixed media artist Natalie Ball and Australian sound artist Philip Samartzis to consider the theme of WATER from afar through online residencies.

Their research and work will reflect a wide range of topics such as sustainability, rights, climate, mythology, history, science, politics and more.

Process

Water has played a pivotal role in shaping Switzerland's identity and is an increasingly central theme in ecological discussions. The Foundation invites contemporary artists to take a deep look at this essential component of life on our planet, which powers the environment’s engine, impacts climate, helps shape and sculpt the landscape, effects migration patterns, directs economic and political planning, is at the source of political conflicts, yet also as a source of peace and contemplation.

With an interest in raising a consciousness towards the surrounding Alpine and acoustic environment, in 2021 the Foundation invited sound artist Philip Samartzis to develop a sound walk utilising the practice of Eco Acoustics to consider the importance of listening to WATER.

Eco Acoustics is an emerging interdisciplinary science that investigates natural and anthropogenic sounds and their relationship with the environment over a wide range of study scales, both spatial and temporal, including populations, communities, and landscapes. As technology advances and becomes less costly, Eco Acoustics is becoming an important remote-sensing tool with which it is possible to analyze massive acoustic data sets and quickly predict and/or evaluate the effects of climate change on the environment.

From the cracking of frozen glacial landscapes to the whisper of melting permafrost, the artist has drawn on his archive of sound recordings from Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the Bernese Oberland to produce a composition solely of the sounds of water within our changing environment.

During the sound walk different qualities and behaviours of water will reveal themselves, inviting audiences to consider the implications of changes occurring in places seldom seen or heard, yet central to the health and wellbeing of our planet.

Parallel exhibition

Philip Samartzis’ recordings were paired with his on-site photography which examined the impact of global warming and mass tourism demonstrated through increasing anthropogenic activity, the contraction of the Great Aletsch Glacier, and erosion caused by the loss of permafrost which together are affecting the region’s fragile ecology.

The composition is ninety minutes in duration - divided into fifteen specific movements - designed to be heard while walking through the natural landscape above Verbier between Ruinettes and Croix de Coeur.

Thank you

Eco Acoustics: Listening to a Changing Environment was curated by Alexa Jeanne Kusber and realized thanks to the support of the Commune de Bagnes, Musée de Bagnes, Téléverbier, Loterie Romande, Office de Tourisme de Verbier, Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Antarctic Division, Bogong Centre for Sound Culture, Creative Victoria, High Altitude Research Station at Jungfraujoch, Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology at the Zurich University of the Arts, RMIT School of Art, Swiss National Science Foundation, Madeleine Paternot, Jean-Edouard van Praet & Tappan Heher, Chalet Ker Praet, Le Dahu, Mountain Air, Ice Cube, Marilynne Geiger and Nicolas Combes.

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