Art organisations have come together to form “weather stations” stretching from London’s Senate House Library to the Enoura Observatory in Japan in response to the climate emergency.
The World Weather Network comprises 28 art organisations who will share “weather reports” for one year in the form of observations, stories, images and imaginings about their local weather and our shared climate.
The constellation of “weather stations” will be located in oceans, deserts, mountains, farmland, rainforests, observatories, lighthouses and cities, creating a collection of voices and viewpoints on a global platform.
Professor Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, said: “With World Weather Attribution we try to bring scientific evidence of the role of climate change into our conversations about the weather, but science alone can’t change the world.
“Art and literature can. So the World Weather Network is exactly what’s needed to view climate change very differently from what we think it is today.”
The artists’ weather reports will be shared on the World Weather Network platform from each location – including from a tropical rainforest in Guyana, the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq and the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
In the UK, a new sound installation by writer Jessica J Lee and sound artist Claudia Molitor titled A Thousand Words For Weather responds to live data from the Met Office.
The pair translated different words for weather into 10 languages commonly spoken in the UK creating an 1,000-word weather dictionary, which will open at London’s Senate House Library on June 22.
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Other cities involved include Dhaka, Istanbul, Johannesburg and Seoul.
Meanwhile, on Fogo Island in Canada, British artist Liam Gillick is creating an operational weather station to be used by scientists and the local community.
He said: “Art helps us to understand and elevate our environment. The World Weather Network brings together so many new perspectives that it will accelerate critical thinking about our current crisis.
“My project on Fogo Island will collect data about the local weather. The maths and science have been clear for a long time. We all face catastrophic changes as a consequence of our over-heating planet.”
In a lighthouse on the island of Santa Clara, Cristina Iglesias’s sculpture Hondolea invites reflection on deep time and daily life.
She said: “For centuries, lighthouses on coasts around the world flashed out their warning about dangers at sea. Now warnings of extreme weather are shared every day by meteorologists and climate scientists.
“What can art do in the face of this emergency? It asks us to listen, to look, to think. This is why I made my sculpture, Hondolea, in the old lighthouse on the island of Santa Clara on the Basque coast.”
Hiroshi Sugimoto will also collaborate with the Enoura Observatory in Japan to observe the turbulence of the Earth’s atmosphere.
“The earth’s atmosphere is only a thin membrane on the surface of this fragile planet. Without it, life would be impossible. It’s here that “weather” exists.
“From the Enoura Observatory overlooking Sagami Bay, I will offer new perspectives on the atmosphere, the weather and the mutating climatic conditions we all experience,” he said.
The World Weather Network will also present alternative ways of responding to the world’s climate and is an initiation to look, listen, learn and act.
The weather reports will begin on June 21.