Google Arts & Culture Lab (FR): Heartbeat of the Earth


Fabian Oefner (CH)

As part of Heartbeat of the Earth, a series of online interactive artworks interpreting climate data, artist Fabian Oefner explores the retreat of the Rhone and Trift glaciers in Switzerland over the last 140 years by using precise digital coordinates and special drone captures.

Spectacular landscape photographs, serving as gigantic infographics that document the shocking glacial retreat of the Rhone and Trift glaciers over the last 140 years, using a cutting-edge drone technique.

The artist Fabian Oefner (CH) used precise digital coordinates taken from the ETH datasets, connecting these to the Google Earth terrain function to visualize the retreat on the glaciers and to choose the location he would take the photographs from. The artist then sent drones equipped with powerful LED lights over the glaciers at nighttime, creating long-exposure images for each glacial expansion of a certain year. These were combined into two single interactive photographs, that show the lines of the glacier’s dramatic retreat.


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Fabian Oefner (CH)
Fabian Oefner’s work explores the boundaries between time, space and reality. He creates fictional moments and spaces, that look and feel absolutely real, yet aren’t. Through this, Oefner dissects the different components of reality and gives us a clearer understanding of how we perceive and define it. Inspired by science, Oefner`s approach to art is highly methodical and at the same time playful for unexpected moments to happen. He creates carefully orchestrated works, that are planned down to the last detail as well as pieces, that use a loose framework for art to happen.