About the exhibition

What can fluvial systems and glaciers tell us about climate change? What is at stake in terms of how we experience, understand and value water systems? And how can we measure the human impact on these complex water networks?

With her exhibition Melting Mountains, Berlin-based artist Theresa Schubert invites visitors to cultivate a new sensitivity towards the intersection of art and science. 'The Glacier Trilogy' focuses on glaciers and the melting of glaciers as starting points of fluvial systems. Glaciers hold an extreme importance not only as storages of water but also as a memory of the earth’s past and as indicators of climate change. Glacial ice archives millennia-old (an)organic information, such as microorganisms, pollen, organic remains, and atmospheric dust, allowing scientists to acquire knowledge about ancient ecosystems and to predict future climate change.

During her residency at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and through an arts & science collaboration within the START4Water programme, Theresa Schubert investigated these fluvial systems in the Piemont area in North-West Italy and started to develop The Glacier Trilogy. Schubert looked/listened and responded with various media technologies to the signals that the environment in the Western Italian Alps produce. Combining advanced computational technologies (such as generative adversarial networks, atmospheric sensors or realtime ice-fluid simulation for 8K) with sculpture materials, the works increase awareness of the fragility of the environment and the transformations due to climate change, stimulating an emotional engagement of the audience. The trio of works that make up 'The Glacier Trilogy' are now shown together for the first time at Meinblau in Berlin, accompanied by an extended supporting programme.


The first work of the trilogy shows mountain landscapes with glaciers slowly unfolding from abstract images. The boundaries between reality and fiction, past and future, nature and artificiality are blurred. These landscapes do not exist in reality; they have been generated by an AI, based on archive material. Canadian tenor Joseph Schnurr improvised a soundtrack to complement the visuals. Within Schubert's own composition, the audio recording serves as a musical counterpart to the process of transformation.


The second work consists of hand-blown glass sculptures suspended from the ceiling, each containing ancient water extracted from melted glacier cores. This primal water, some tens of thousands of years old, is carefully preserved in a closed system and serves as a miniature memorial to the inherent transience of life.


The panoramic video sculpture simulates the formation and melting of glaciers in real time. Visitors unwittingly become part of the process: CO2 sensors register their exhalations and accelerate the simulated melting of the glaciers. Through the unique combination of human creativity, advanced computer technologies, sculptural materials and scientific research, Theresa Schubert encourages the audience to engage in a dialogue. The work was created in collaboration with programmer and artist Sage Jenson.

About the artist

Theresa Schubert is a Berlin-based artist who explores unconventional visions of nature, technology and the self. With a PhD in Media Art from the Bauhaus University Weimar, she combines audiovisual and biological media in her artistic practice to create conceptual and immersive installations and performances. In doing so, she repeatedly touches on the boundaries between science and art.

Her works move in an aesthetic sphere between alchemy and science fiction, challenging anthropocentrism while enabling alternative visions and new sensory experiences. Schubert has exhibited internationally,including: Ars Electronica Linz, Art Laboratory Berlin, BOZAR. Centre for Fine Arts Brussels, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, Newcastle Art Gallery, Electrofringe Festival Australia, Futurium Berlin, Istanbul Biennial, European Media Art Festival, Kapelica Gallery, Museum Villa Rot, MMOMA Moscow, Perm Museum of Contemporary Art or Zebrastraat Gent. Her work has been awarded the NTAA (New Technological Art Award) 2016, an Honorary Mention at the Prix Ars Electronica (AI & Life Art 2021) and the Award of Excellence at the Japan Media Arts Festival 2022 (Art Division).

About the speakers

During the Berlin Gallery Weekend, the renowned art historian and curator of contemporary art, Ingeborg Reichle (Research Institute for Sustainability Helmoltz Centre Potsdam), discusses the theme of the exhibition with Theresa Schubert on 27 April at 5pm. As an expert in modern and contemporary art with a strong focus on the interaction between art, science and ecology, she will provide insight into the contextual framework of the exhibition.

For the finissage on May 5th, the artist welcomes three discussion partners: geologist Tobias Sauter, professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin and expert on glaciers, will provide a comprehensive overview of the scientific background. The artist duo Adnan & Nina Softić developed the musical instrument "Klimaton" in 2020, which outputs the data of a research expedition to the Arctic as sound and thus draws a large-scale musical portrait of a changing landscape.