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Art x Science Office

On the river

Barbara Strobl und Simon Etter, Mercator Awardees 2020

Film Festivals

"On the River" was screened at the following film festivals:


Barbara Strobl und Simon Etter - Mercator Awardees 2020

The Mercator Award 2020 for Medicine and Sciences is shared equally by Simon Etter and Barbara Strobl, two doctoral candidates at the UZH Department of Geography, in recognition of their PhD theses on the CrowdWater project. One of the first citizen science initiatives at UZH, CrowdWater uses an app for gathering hydrological data that enables citizens to work with researchers all over the world to collect information on water levels in rivers and streams, ground humidity, and plastic waste pollution, and feed it into a central database.

The ultimate goal of the project is to improve water management and hydrological forecasting. “With the help of a large number of volunteers we haven’t just been able to find out more about hydrological processes. It’s also helped create flood forecasting models in regions where there would otherwise be a lack of relevant data,” explains Strobl. “We’re also hoping for novel methods of gathering hydrological data based on citizen science that ultimately benefit everyone,” adds Etter.  

Film: On the River

"On the River" is a poetic experimental film in tribute to Barbara Strobl and Simon Etter, who received the Mercator Prize for their outstanding research. The stop-motion film follows the course of the river. From its source in the mountains, the water drips, drums, splashes, flows, foams, roars all the way to its mouth in the sea.
The strong abstraction of the images and the powerful composition of Fritz Hauser direct the concentration to the poetic text of Matjaž Grilj, who links the knowledge of research with the sensuous attraction and his personal relationship with water. "Be still and listen to the water. The mist, the drop, the wave."

Film by Katharina Weikl
Directors and Animation: Katharina Weikl, Claudia Röthlin, Yves Gutjahr
Text: Matjaž Grilj
Music: Fritz Hauser
Voice: Claudius Körber