“While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey” with Daniel Schwartz — Part I

This series of three webinars with Daniel Schwartz sheds light on the origins and metamorphoses, on the making-of, and the intellectual context of this climate crises-driven project accomplished between 2009 and 2017. The series is moderated by Ziyah Gafic.

For While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey the author embarked on a journey that led from the relics of Holocene glaciation in Switzerland and the Alps into the milieu of the Anthropocene, to collapsing glaciers on three continents. The outcome, a “glaciology in pictures,” as it were, is the result of a synthesis of scientific observation and artistic action. The environmental context makes the project the counterpart and continuation of Delta. The Perils, Profits and Politics of Water in South and Southeast Asia (1997), one of the earliest comprehensive photojournalistic studies on the climate crisis. While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey was realized partly in collaboration with institutes of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) and of the University of Bern, published in 2017 by Thames & Hudson and exhibited in 2018 at the Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, Switzerland.

Part I. From Delta to Glacier

The initial webinar event will introduce approaches and strategies—photojournalistic, conceptual and science-supported—and discuss the reasons for merging terrestrial and aerial photography. Together, these practices have found very diverse applications during the past thirty years—at first documenting the densely populated coastal habitats in Asia increasingly endangered by sea-level rise as a consequence of the climate crisis, then, more recent, representing the accelerated agony of Alpine and Equatorial glaciers as well as of West Asian glaciers where, in the early 19th century, mountaineering and world politics had met and where conflict and glacial melt today simultaneously occur, with the risk of looming war for resources.

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