Design and manufacturing of a sensor system to measure the melting of the Similaun glacier in real time
Italian Limes is an ongoing research project and an award-winning interactive installation that explores the most remote Alpine regions, where national frontiers drift with glaciers. Originally commissioned as part of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, Italian Limes is an ongoing research project on the movable borders on the Alps. It focuses on the effects of climate change on shrinking glaciers and the consequent shifts of the watershed line that defines the national borders of Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. In 2015 Italian Limes has been exhibited at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bozen.
Invited to be part of the new exhibition Reset Modernity!, curated by the philosopher Bruno Latour in collaboration with AIME Team, the designers behind Italian Limes planned a new phase of the project, along with a new expedition on the glaciers of the Ötztal Alps, after the initial survey conducted in 2014. On April 2nd, 2016 the Italian Limes team successfully installed a series of autonomous devices on the melting ice sheet at the foot of Mt. Similaun, 3,300m above sea level. The new measurement units will help to track the change in the tridimensional geometry of the glacier throughout Spring and Summer 2016. The expedition was undertaken with representatives from the Comitato Glaciologico Italiano and the OGS—National Institute of Oceanography and of Experimental Geophysics, who provided scientific coordination for the project.
Further data was collected on the site during the expedition, and a geophysical survey of the glacier was performed. Along with providing the source of data for the installation at ZKM, Karlsruhe, that opened on April 16th, these measures will help to better understand climate change dynamics on the Alps. The sensors are open-source surveying tools that have been conceived specifically for the project. They have been designed under the scientific guidance of professor Valter Maggi (Università di Milano Bicocca), and professor Aldino Bondesan (Università di Padova). Prior to the installation, the devices were tested at -30°C inside the facilities of EuroCold laboratories at Università di Milano Bicocca. Italian Limes is made possible thanks to the network technologies and connectivity provided by TIM.
Comitato Glaciologico Italiano, Dipartimento di Geoscienze, Università di Padova
Comitato Glaciologico Italiano, EuroCold Lab, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Milano Bicocca
Dipartimento di Fisica e Scienze della Terra, Università di Parma
Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste
Reset Modernity!, curated by Bruno Latour at ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2016
South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Jun–Sep 2015)
14th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, 2014
Special mention from the jury of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia
Silver medal at the European Design Awards 2015 for the exhibition design
Delfino Sisto Legnani