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© Riccardo Selvatico

Good Night, Glaciers
Exhibition of the Ice Memory project

An international race against time

Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti kicks off the winter season with an exhibition of the "Ice Memory" project, in collaboration with the Ca' Foscari University of Venice Foundation and the National Research Council CNR for scientific and technological research in the polar regions.

The protagonists of "Good Night, Glaciers" are international researchers who have been drilling ice cores from the depths of glaciers since 2015 to save them from the consequences of global warming and storing them in Antarctica in order to preserve a unique archive of data on the planet's past.

Cortina d'Ampezzo, 14th December 2023_Our history is written in the ice. In the heart of the Dolomites, the Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti takes visitors directly to an extreme environment, to the edge of the world, "inside" the glaciers. On 23rd December, the "Ice Memory" exhibition, a project supported by UNESCO, will open at the exhibition centre in the Lagazuoi cable car top station at an altitude of 2,732 metres. "Good Night, Glaciers" is a narrative that traces its roots to the distant past and challenges us to speculate about the future

© Riccardo Selvatico

Global warming is threatening glaciers, which contain irreplaceable climatic information about the history of the climate and the environment. A legacy that on the one hand allows us to explore the near and distant past of our planet and on the one to increase our ability to predict the future consequences of climate change, which will guide us in our decisions, on the other. That is why the Ice Memory project was launched in 2015, involving several international teams, including the Italian team led by Carlo Barbante, Director of the Institute of Polar Sciences at the CNR and Professor at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.

In the Alps and other places in the world, scientists take ice core samples, cylinders with a diameter of 10 centimetres, which are as deep as the glaciers. Thanks to these samples, it is possible to track natural climate fluctuations before industrial emissions and greenhouse gases accelerate the rise in global temperatures. Analysing the drill cores makes it possible to understand how the Earth reacts to these phenomena, and this information is of essential importance when it is necessary to decide what measures are to be taken to limit the damage caused by climate change. These ice samples will then be brought to a remote area in Antarctica and stored on a long-term basis in the secure cold of an ice cave. Thus, the researchers will establish a glacial archive so that in the future researchers can conduct their research programmes on preserved ice cores with the new techniques and processes they will have developed. It is a gift from today's researchers to those of the future.

Good Night, Glaciers: the display at the Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti
All those who go up to Mount Lagazuoi are invited to tiptoe into a fascinating but little-known environment. The exhibition, curated by Erica Villa and Enrico Costa, is combined with an online catalogue in Italian, English and German that visitors can download via a QR code, which allows visitors to broaden their knowledge of the topics covered.

The first exhibition room shows videos dedicated to the scientific missions conducted by Ice Memory and filmed on-site by photographer and video maker Riccardo Selvatico. The light is dim, the scenography is immersive, and endless panoramas and ice expanses of great visual impact appear on the four walls, combined with a short poetic text. You listen to the sounds of melting glaciers: whispers, gurgles, rumbles and ticking sounds recorded with special microphones directly from the Morteratsch glacier in Switzerland, re-elaborated by the artist Ludwig Berger. An all-encompassing sound experience, suggestive of a close connection with nature.

The second exhibition space is devoted to two separate projects that share a strong thematic connection, Ice Memory and Memoria dei Ghiacci. The latter is an information initiative co-financed by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, and managed by the Ca' Foscari University Foundation of Venice. On the one hand, we learn through videos and interviews how the Ice Memory researchers work and hear the story of their missions on the Alpine glaciers and Svalbard in the Arctic (missions funded by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research). On the other hand, thanks to Memoria dei Ghiacci, we can observe one of the most evident consequences of global warming: the retreat of glaciers, which is progressing at an impressive rate.

A series of visual projections show the "before" and the "after". This comparison is also made possible thanks to the Memoria dei Ghiacci website and app, which provide data and images of the most important Alpine glaciers and offer everyone the opportunity to contribute to the observation by sending their pictures to the research team.

The absolute highlight of the third exhibition room - and symbol of the entire exhibition - is an real ice core, which was taken from one of the project locations and is ready for transport to Antarctica. Stored in a refrigerated container, it reveals its secrets to the public like a book, page by page. In this room, there is also a mannequin wearing original clothing from the Ice Memory project, made for the researchers by Karpos and Aku and specially designed for extreme climates. Finally, data on the Marmolada, one of the most symbolic mountains of the Dolomites, which you can see directly from the Lagazuoi, are presented with impressive graphics. Its glacier, a popular tourist destination in summer and winter, has halved in size in just 25 years and is likely to disappear shortly.

The exhibition is an invitation to investigate an unusual but extremely valuable environment for our future by supporting scientific research. Attempting to reverse this course requires a greater collective awareness to start with.

Free entrance!

Click here to view the online catalogue  >>>>>

Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti_In 2018, the top station of the Lagazuoi cable car at an altitude of 2732 metres was transformed into an art gallery, a high-tech exhibition centre and a laboratory of ideas for the mountains, as well as a model for soft and sustainable tourism. Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti is a place of cultural valorisation that also generates curatorial content, such as the Lagazuoi Winning Ideas Mountain Awards, a competition that highlights materials, technologies, apps and high-tech solutions related to the high mountains, and the Lagazuoi Photo Award, which aims to create an original visual language about the mountains. The barrier-free and energy-independent building houses exhibition rooms, a hall for events and conferences, and a bar with a terrace making it an ideal venue for events.