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Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya

Winner - Bronze

Competition: Spark:Space
Designer: Thinc Design - Exhibit Designer in collaboration with GlacierWorks
Design Type: Interiors
Company / Organization / School: MIT Museum
Website: http://www.thincdesign.com
Team Members: in collaboration with GlacierWorks

Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya was designed to demonstrate real changes in these glaciers from the past to the present, connected to the lives of real people. It was essential to produce an elegant, effective presentation of the material in an experiential context that would be effective. We also needed to provide a clear method of orientation to aid people in navigating the terrain of the exhibition. We created an open landscape of imagery and objects that provided a long view of the exhibition, giving a powerful first impression, as well as intimate opportunities for viewing the photographs while standing or sitting. The exhibition featured juxtaposing panoramas, large-scale prints, and projections of historic and modern photographs. The graphics, which feature the date of each photograph or artifact in larger print, create a shifting landscape of time. Methods were designed for visualizing the environment, comparing glacier mass, and visually locating the photographs within the geography of the Himalayas. Finally, we felt it important to convey the feelings explorers had for these places and what it means to be there. Using a range of artifacts, a human element was created to remind visitors of the physical and technological challenges involved in taking these photographs in a high-altitude, unforgiving environment. Additionally, select quotations throughout the exhibits provide a diversity of perspectives on the most rugged and challenging landscapes on the planet.