The Invisible Mountain is an installation that was recently on view at the University of the Arts (Universität der Künste, UdK) in Berlin by CED professor Giovanni Betti and Katharina Fleck in collaboration with students at the UdK Berlin led by Christoph Gengnagel. The installation’s intention is to raise awareness on the disappearing glaciers in the Italian Alps and to reveal the complexities and contradictions in the fight of climate change. The floating installation resembles the shape of a mountain and dominated the foyer of the University of the Arts in Berlin. The installation is made out of non-woven polypropylene geotextile and held in place by clear fishing wire.
The significance of the medium for the installation comes from efforts being made to slow the melt of a glacier in Northern Italy. Since 2008, a group of specialists covers sections of
the glacier with large plastic sheets to protect the snow from the rising temperatures in the summer months. Once they are done, the large white polypropylene covering is hardly distinguishable from the snow underneath. So far, every year the efforts of this group have paid off, and the area that was intended to be saved kept on growing. Today 100.000 square meters of glacier (roughly equivalent to 14 football fields or 8 times piazza Navona in Rome) are covered in geotextile to help save the snow. It is clearly a desperate act, fighting to delay the inevitable. It is also a paradoxical act. 34 tonnes of petroleum-derived plastics are deployed to protect the glacier from the damages caused by our collective dependence on those very same petrochemical compounds now enlisted to slow down the effect of climate change. It is a tragic reminder of how our actions are affecting the planet at a geological scale.
The focus of this work is to bring a visual and impactful awareness that “there is no more natural environment, only built environment,” and allowing the visitor to experience the void left by the melting glacier.