Planai Dachstein

Interactive installations at Dachstein Glacier

The advancing climate change is visibly affecting the glaciers on Dachstein – over the past 100 years, half of the Hallstatt Glacier has melted away. In the newly opened visitor center of the Dachstein Glacier Cable Car, visitors are made aware of the causes and dramatic impacts of global warming. Three interactive stations by Ars Electronica Solutions intuitively convey the central importance of climate for nature and, consequently, for us humans. After nearly nine months of renovation of the mountain station, the Dachstein Glacier Cable Car resumes operation today, May 24, 2024.

image: Isabel Schölmbauer

Climate in Transition: Global – Regional – Local

An initial eye-catcher can be found at the valley station with the Half Dome Globe: Ars Electronica Solutions presents a depiction of the globe that illustrates global phenomena of climate and global warming through atmospheric data, land surface information, and ocean data provided by the ESA. The “Half Dome Globe” illustrates on a global level that climate change does not only affect individual regions but the entire world. It is crucial to understand the interconnections and recognize how everything is linked together. By viewing the issue from a global perspective, we can comprehend the overall impacts of climate change and develop an understanding that we are all affected by it.

image: APPtauen, Land OOE

At the mountain station, located at an altitude of 2,700 meters, two installations were developed with funding from the state of Upper Austria:bAn interactive touchscreen visualizes data and facts about climate-related changes in the Dachstein region, sourced from the APPtauen Dachstein Glacier app (Land Oberösterreich) – specifically expanded for large-scale display on the touchscreen. The presentation of “APPtauen Dachsteingletscher” focuses on the specific region of Dachstein. This perspective makes climate change and its consequences more tangible and understandable. It illustrates that climate change is not just an abstract concept but has real impacts on the places where we are located.

images: Hannah Bachl, Isabel Schölmbauer

 In the glacier restaurant, the Digital Telescope can be tried out: The view of the real mountain landscape is enhanced by a digital overlay that changes and provides information depending on the movement of the telescope. Visitors gain a completely new perspective on the mountain range, the impressive 850-meter-high Dachstein south face, or the melting of the glacier at Rosmarie tunnel. The view through the “Digital Telescope” at the mountain ascent creates an immediate local connection. This makes the glacier melt tangible and comprehensible, as the dramatic disappearance of the eternal ice can be directly experienced.

image: Harald Steiner

When alpine skiing operations on the Dachstein Glacier were permanently ceased in 2023, followed by the dismantling of the T-bar lifts, it marked the beginning of a realignment. As a first and pioneering step, the mountain station of the Dachstein Glacier Cable Car was completely renovated and modernized. A new glacier restaurant with a 1,000 square meter glass facade and a spacious rooftop terrace was created, equipped with a high-performance photovoltaic system. Future visitors can look forward to additional viewing platforms, photo hotspots, and interactive installations by Ars Electronica Solutions.

“Ars Electronica Solutions demonstrates what is technically possible with the installation in the new visitor center of the Dachstein Glacier Cable Car. The Half Dome Globe at the valley station is an eye-catcher, and there are two installations at the mountain station – all three offer impressive insights. They not only show the changes in the climate but also highlight that Upper Austria is not just a land of labor and economy, but also a land of technology and innovation.” Thomas Stelzer, Governor of Upper Austria

“With these two installations, we draw attention to the greatest challenge in human history – climate change – and raise awareness of this issue right where the climate crisis has already left visible traces. For almost 20 years, we have been researching the retreat of the Hallstatt Glacier on Dachstein, and it is alarming at what pace we have lost and will continue to lose the eternal ice.” Stefan Kaineder, Upper Austrian Environmental and Climate Councilor

“Ars Electronica Solutions offers a unique view of the highest peak in Upper Austria and makes the beauty but also the fragility of nature visible. Through interactive stations, scientific facts about climate change are presented in an understandable way, showing what this means specifically in the case of the Dachstein Glacier.” Doris Lang-Mayerhofer, City Councillor for Culture & Chairwoman of the Ars Electronica Advisory Board

Project Credits:
Chris Bruckmayr, Florian Cossee, Dominik Trichlin, Yvonne Metnitzer, Harald Moser, Markus Wipplinger, My Thrinh Müller- Gardiner

ESA, idee Concept & Exhibition Engineering GmbH, Peak Impact, Smesh OG