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Words of Weather out soon

March 18, 2022 Leave a comment

As part of the Weather Engines exhibition we have edited the book Words of Weather, a glossary for terms for weather , out soon in English and Greek. Details where to order coming soon. Below a sneak peak at the wonderful roster of contributors and terms.

Weather Engines in April

March 13, 2022 Leave a comment

We are happy to announce the list of artists for our Weather Engines exhibition, curated by Daphne Dragona and myself, which opens in April in Athens at Onassis Stegi. You can find more information about the exhibition as well as the opening program online and below you can find our curatorial text. Also the book Words of Weather, a glossary for terms for weather, will be out by end of March. More on that in a separate blog post.


Weather Engines artists list

Kat Austen, Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Felipe Castelblanco, Kent Chan, Coti K., Denise Ferreira da Silva & Arjuna Neuman, DESIGN EARTH, Matthias Fritsch, Geocinema, Abelardo Gil-Fournier & Jussi Parikka, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Hypercomf, Lito Kattou, Zisis Kotionis, Manifest Data Lab, Barbara Marcel, Matterlurgy, Petros Moris, Sybille Neumeyer, Afroditi Psarra & Audrey Briot, Susan Schuppli, Rachel Shearer & Cathy Livermore, Stefania Strouza, Superflux, Paky Vlassopoulou, Thomas Wrede

Weather Engines curatorial text

“Weather Engines” explores the poetics, politics, and technologies of the environment from the ground to the sky, and from soil to atmosphere.

Weather can be described as a dynamical system of wind, pressure, temperature, and humidity, which affects both human and nonhuman worlds. It changes from moment to moment and differs from place to place, while being forecasted in the attempt to control its effects. Weather observation has turned out to be part of the attempts to modify weather from experimental military projects to technological responses to mitigate climate change. The weather, though, is more than any physical fact in meteorological knowledge. It can also refer to different atmospheres which can be metaphorical or political and related to breathing and living.

The “Weather Engines” exhibition features artistic works that ask questions of weather, the environment, and technological culture. The installations, images, as well as video, sound, and sculptural works take the climate crisis as a starting point, investigating the elements that engineer our lives. Heat and cold, wind and rain are discussed in relation to different geographical and political contexts from past to present and speculative futures. Oceans, clouds, and forests are acknowledged as life-sustaining engines creating the atmosphere that we are inhabiting but also affecting. Meteorological instruments as well as natural bioindicators are the focal point of works that explore how weather phenomena are captured and studied. Other projects examine and expose the exploitation and weaponization of bad or extreme weather.

The artworks outline an environmental aesthetics that also addresses climate justice. The exhibition brings to view the conflicts in describing, experiencing, and resisting colonial weather and atmospheres. In the age of anthropogenic climate, all weather is artificial. If all weather is made, then this also means that there is still the potential to struggle for the weathers and climates we would rather want to live in.

Trois essais sur l’écologie des media – translations in French and Spanish

December 21, 2021 Leave a comment

Two new translations of my work came out from the printers just before the winter holidays. Two collections consisting of three essays of mine are published in French (T&P Publishing, Paris) and Spanish (Mimesis, Chile) with both of the editions complemented by a new preface by Peter Szendy. A brief quote from Szendy’s wonderful text (in the French edition):

Les miettes, les rognures, les déjections qui restent et que ces trois textes cherchent à penser ne sont pas à strictement parler les résidus d’un repas, c’est-à-dire d’une ingestion et d’une digestion organique. Les commensaux qui, dans ces pages, consomment et jettent ou rejettent ne sont pas des vivants humains ou animaux : ni mammifères, oiseaux ou insectes, ni même bactéries ou virus (quoique le virus et l’insecte soient ailleurs l’objet des réflexions de Jussi Parikka, par exemple quand il s’intéresse à la généalogie du modèle de l’essaim en informatique ou à l’idée selon laquelle les contagions virales qui se répandent dans le monde numérique relèveraient d’un métabolisme ). Ici, les commensaux du grand festin dont L’Anthrobscène ramasse et analyse les restes, ce sont les médias eux-mêmes.”

More information on both of the new editions:

Antropobsceno y otros ensayos: Medios, materialidad y ecología (Translators: Ximena Atristain, Julián Etienne, raúl rodríguez freire and Rodrigo Zamorano).

L’anthrobscène et autres violences – translated by Agnès Villette).

Weather Engines interview on Resonance FM

November 23, 2021 Leave a comment

Here’s a recent radio interview recording about the Weather Engines project (2021/2022) funded by the Onassis Stegi (Athens). It also includes a discussion of the new film piece by Matterlurgy called “Hydromancy”, on at the Hansard Gallery in Southampton (do visit) as well as online. The work emerges from a residency at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, a co-commission by the John Hansard Gallery and Onassis Stegi.

A thank you to Jude Montagu for this chat.

The Lab and the Field, the Image and the Instrument

October 8, 2021 Leave a comment

I was kindly commissioned this short text about Su Yu Hsin’s frame of reference video installation at the Alexander Levy gallery (Berlin). Originally published by the gallery, here’s the text below as well alongside links to the work.

See here for the Online viewing gallery.

See here for a video sample.

The Lab and the Field, the Image and the Instrument

Su Yu Hsin’s frame of reference (I and II) consists of images about images. The recursive story of environmental data offers a literal frame of reference about images that are captured in multiple windows. These moving images are nested inside other moving images. This assembly of views – scientists in action, rivers in flow, aerial views, simulations, and graphs – comes out of a patchwork of instruments of sensing that also have be nested somewhere on the field in order to transport data somewhere else. Not that the field, the lab, and data are considered separate. Any situated knowledge does not imply stand-point stability but the existence of relations, vectors of movement, and the painstaking work of trying to think what scales, what does not.  Questions of proximity and distance become reversed so that any objective set of views cannot start as uninvolved distance. Instead, they have to share a terrain and be somewhere, sometime, and for some duration. The intimacy of scientific practice can be breath-taking.

These are some of the visual dilemmas of the Anthropocene landscapes that are not modelled anymore based on the genre of the landscape painting but abstract art: intensities of color, variation, and pattern that become epistemically meaningful for specialist analysis.

The composition of carefully crafted scenes is cinema about instruments. The scenes could be narrated as featuring scientific practice but there’s more at play as you can imagine. It is not that frame of reference is only about scientific practice of measurement and the critical zone of life that covers the planet but that the images become instruments that start to compose the space they are in. They are involved. They are based on but also feed forward observations.

These involved observations are, as Su Yu Hsin tells us, on the ground as the surface layer of life, but they are also off the ground; these spaces are seen through the capacity of the instruments which allow the space to lift from a specific place onto a (data) server across the planetary surface. Instruments that specify place, images that are composed in that space, and yet data that is circulating much beyond those locations. Planetary sensing, and planetary circulation of data are tightly interlinked.

frame of reference is a story of patchy images: particular views in particular time, composed and stitched together after being captured. At this particular time a certain strength wind was passing through this landscape. This patchiness is not mere limitation, but a condition of their own existence as partial views to any site and sight. It is only through the dynamic patchiness of any landscape, field, and observation that a pattern can be spotted; a systemic property determined by a heterogeneous ground.

Gradually, live shots make way for data-views; lidar imaging, simulations, satellite sensing and more. Any view taken is taken twice: first as moving images, then as moving data; first as recording of light and other signals, then as model and simulation composed of those signals. The proliferation of patchy images also makes us realise the change in what sort of images we are watching.

Change and flow are one example of the patches in motion, concretely visible on the image surfaces in Su Yu Hsin’s work. The centrality of flowing water as well as submerged views is one indication of circulation too. Any location of a patch is not necessarily contained by its site of observation and the hydropoetic moving images in frame of reference make a point about this aspect of knowing through means of aesthetics. None of this is about a stable thing but a process of composition: a river flow, atmospheric chemistry, soil composition, landscape migration. Only the scales of composition and change vary.

On the ground, in the air, and under water; the images are involved in the elemental mix. The environment is one of material capacity to be sensed as well as already sensing. Su Yu Hsin captures the double-aspect why we are drawn to it: the epistemic and the aesthetic as the two sides why a surface measurement of the Earth can become both data and sensation, measurement and affect. As such, the videos exhibited could easily be seen as perfect illustrations of the past years of art and science work with a special attention being paid to the posthumanities of environmental scales, the material agency of not only the scientists but also the landscapes, and the intensive site of the field that is immanent to the lab also the voice-over speaks of.

But more than illustration, frame of reference becomes a collaborator in all of those endeavours; alongside the field, the lab, and the database, also the image and the studio, the frame and its aesthetic references as a site of participation.

Further reading:

Horton, Zachary (2021) The Cosmic Zoom. Scale, Knowledge, and Mediation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lowenhaupt Tsing, Anna; Mathews, Andrew S., and Bubandt Nils (2019) “Patchy Anthropocene: Landscape Structure, Multispecies History, and the Retooling of Anthropology” Current Anthropology Volume 60, Number S20, https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/703391

Weather Engines in progress

September 29, 2021 Leave a comment

Here’s the first public, online glimpse to our work-in-progress curatorial project Weather Engines. Commissioned by Onassis Stegi (Athens), Daphne Dragona and myself are curating an exhibition as well as a range of activities of public talks, workshops, and more on the theme that is not merely about the technicalities of weather – such as weather modification/geoengineering – but about a wider sense of embodiment and environments of weather as techniques, affects, and politics.

We have also edited a little glossary of a book Terms of Weather to go with the exhibition with contributions from so many exciting writers, theorists, artists, and architects addressing core terms for this expanded understanding of weather. The book will be out in late 2021 already both in English and Greek.

The exhibition takes place in Athens in Spring 2022.

Lost Islands at the Helsinki Biennial: a conversation with Samir Bhowmik

August 16, 2021 Leave a comment

I had the pleasure to be an advisor for Samir Bhowmik’s art and performance project Lost Islands (2021) that was commissioned by the Helsinki Biennial. Here’s a talk/conversation we did with Samir as part of the public talks program of the Biennial – we discussed the Anthropocene, performance arts, the island and infrastructure, and other themes stemming from the Lost Islands (as well as Samir’s own art-research work).

Sensoria by McKenzie Wark

August 17, 2020 Leave a comment

McKenzie Wark’s new book Sensoria: Thinkers for the Twenty-first Century is out and I am chuffed (as the British say) to be included in the fabulous lineup of theorists and writers that she rolls out in this follow-up of the General Intellects volume.

“As we face the compounded crises of late capitalism, environmental catastrophe and technological transformation, who are the thinkers and the ideas who will allow us to understand the world we live in? McKenzie Wark surveys three areas at the cutting edge of current critical thinking: media ecologies, post-colonial ethnographies, and the design of technology, and introduces us to the thinking of seventeen major writers who, combined, contribute to the common task of knowing the world. Each chapter is a concise account of an individual thinker, providing useful context and connections to the work of the others.

The authors include: Sianne Ngai, Kodwo Eshun, Lisa Nakamura, Hito Steyerl, Yves Citton, Randy Martin, Jackie Wang, Wang Hui, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Achille Mbembe, Eyal Weizman, Cory Doctorow, Benjamin Bratton, Tiziana Terranova, Keller Easterling, Jussi Parikka, Deborah Danowich and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

Wark argues that we are too often told that expertise is obtained by specialisation. Sensoria connects the themes and arguments across intellectual silos. The book is a vital and timely introduction to the future both as a warning but also as a roadmap for how we might find our way out of the current crisis.”

A Recursive Web of Models: Studio Tomás Saraceno’s Working Objects

My article on Studio Tomás Saraceno’s work is now out in the Configurations journal.

Screenshot 2020-07-23 at 14.39.37

The text follows up from the Palais de Tokyo show On Air (curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel) and I’ve tried to articulate these points in the article in a couple of different contexts. While there is clearly lots (more) to be said about questions of artistic practices with animals (including multispecies ethnography), and what that implies for the field of environmental humanities, I am here a tad more focused on the question of the image, the model, and the exchange between art and science. Admittedly, “art and science” is a rather low res description of many of the actual workings of what happens in such practices, which is also why I have mobilised the term working objects (hat tip to Daston and Galison) in this context (while I acknowledge that so much more could be said). And keep your eyes open for Sasha Engelmann’s work on Studio Saraceno’s work btw.

In the meantime, see also the video “Studio Visit with Tomás Saraceno“.

Geologie médií

March 22, 2020 Leave a comment

The Czech translation of A Geology of Media is now out and available with Karolinum publishing house (Prague) as Geologie médiíAlso the Czech translation of What is Media Archaeology? is forthcoming (probably 2021) as well as a book focusing on my work (planned to be out in 2021).

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 14.12.44