Janine Randerson: Weather as Medium: Toward a Meteorological Art (2018)

21 February 2019, dusan

“An exploration of artworks that use weather or atmosphere as the primary medium, creating new coalitions of collective engagement with the climate crisis.

In a time of climate crisis, a growing number of artists use weather or atmosphere as an artistic medium, collaborating with scientists, local communities, and climate activists. Their work mediates scientific modes of knowing and experiential knowledge of weather, probing collective anxieties and raising urgent ecological questions, oscillating between the “big picture systems view” and a ground-based perspective. In this book, Janine Randerson explores a series of meteorological art projects from the 1960s to the present that draw on sources ranging from dynamic, technological, and physical systems to indigenous cosmology.

Randerson finds a precursor to today’s meteorological art in 1960s artworks that were weather-driven and infused with the new sciences of chaos and indeterminacy, and she examines work from this period by artists including Hans Haacke, Fujiko Nakaya, and Aotearoa-New Zealand kinetic sculptor Len Lye. She looks at live experiences of weather in art, in particular Fluxus performance and contemporary art that makes use of meteorological data streams and software. She describes the use of meteorological instruments, including remote satellite sensors, to create affective atmospheres; online projects and participatory performances that create a new form of “social meteorology”; works that respond directly to climate change, many from the Global South; artist-activists who engage with the earth’s diminishing cryosphere; and a speculative art in the form of quasi-scientific experiments. Art’s current eddies of activity around the weather, Randerson writes, perturb the scientific hold on facts and offer questions of value in their place.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2018
Leonardo series
ISBN 9780262038270, 0262038277
xl+233 pages

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The Distance Plan (2013–)

20 February 2019, dusan

“The Distance Plan is a project founded by Abby Cunnane and Amy Howden-Chapman that brings together artists, writers and designers to promote discussion of climate change within the arts. The Distance Plan works through exhibitions, public forums and the Distance Plan Press which produces publications, including an annual journal.”

“The issue 4 features artist pages by Louise Menzies and Michala Paludan, an essay by Lina Moe on the closure of New York’s L Line, and, through our ongoing Climate Change & Art: A Lexicon, surveys the language currently surrounding anthropogenic climate change. Through proposing neologisms and promoting less well-known terms, we wish to propel interdisciplinary discussion, and by extension accelerate the pace of action.

Through this lexicon we propose that the science around climate change is developing so rapidly that we need new language to articulate its processes and effects. The lexicon is also based on the recognition that evolving science produces evolving policy, and politics must be commensurate with this. The first set of lexicon terms were collected in the Reading Room journal in 2015.”

Edited by Amy Howden-Chapman and Abby Cunnane
Publisher Distance Plan Press, Auckland, New Zealand
Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 International Licence
ISSN 2463-5553
127 pages (Issues 2 & 4), 135 pages (Issue 3)

Project website

Issue 1, 2013: PDFs
Issue 2: Seven Conversations, 2014: PDF, PDFs
Issue 3: Climate & Precarity, Dec 2015: PDF, PDFs
Issue 4: Climate Change & Art: A Lexicon, Oct 2016: PDF, PDFs

Deborah R. Coen: Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale (2018)

8 October 2018, dusan

“Today, predicting the impact of human activities on the earth’s climate hinges on tracking interactions among phenomena of radically different dimensions, from the molecular to the planetary. Climate in Motion shows that this multiscalar, multicausal framework emerged well before computers and satellites.

Extending the history of modern climate science back into the nineteenth century, Deborah R. Coen uncovers its roots in the politics of empire-building in central and eastern Europe. She argues that essential elements of the modern understanding of climate arose as a means of thinking across scales in a state—the multinational Habsburg Monarchy, a patchwork of medieval kingdoms and modern laws—where such thinking was a political imperative. Led by Julius Hann in Vienna, Habsburg scientists were the first to investigate precisely how local winds and storms might be related to the general circulation of the earth’s atmosphere as a whole. Linking Habsburg climatology to the political and artistic experiments of late imperial Austria, Coen grounds the seemingly esoteric science of the atmosphere in the everyday experiences of an earlier era of globalization.

Climate in Motion presents the history of modern climate science as a history of “scaling”—that is, the embodied work of moving between different frameworks for measuring the world. In this way, it offers a critical historical perspective on the concepts of scale that structure thinking about the climate crisis today and the range of possibilities for responding to it. ”

Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2018
ISBN 9780226398822, 022639882X
xiv+425+[4] pages

Review: Mott Greene (Nature, 2018).

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