WHOSE WEATHER IS IT ANYWAY? AN ART MEDIA INSTALLATION ON THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN "THE CLIMATE OF ECONOMIeS, AND THE ECONOMIeS OF CLIMATE"
Power structures in society shape the way we access and use data and information. Weather data, which use can be beneficial for people, has been subscribed to larger closed infrastructures that do not allow citizens to make use of it, and at the same time feed the corporatization of weather forecasts. I collaborated for this Art Media Installation that depicts scraped weather data from international airport sensors into an experience around the notion of intellectual property of data.
Weather conditions are always central to many narratives in society such as tourism, holidays, food, livelihoods, calamities, and even stock prices. But who has access to climate data, and who regulates it?
Local and global weather information is colonized under an intellectual property regime that often works with opaque and closed information, to make weather reports and predictions with strong influence on international debates on climate change and environmental policy.
These debates occur mainly within organizations that have the power to decide, from the diffusion of meteorological predictions to broader analysis of natural phenomena. In order to claim access to and use of meteorological data, we critically exposed data interfaces and engaged the public, using emerging data sonification methods and net art practices.
Within the art collective, we captured data from weather sensors at Bangalore airports and its "Silicon Valley" pair in San Francisco. We used algorithms that record data in real time, decode it and archive it as meteorological parameters (temperature, air pressure and humidity). These parameters were sonified and transmitted through an FM channel. Along with the video, animation and visual projection, we created an immersion experience for the public around the topic of data & climate.
Artists: Sharath Chandra Ram, Jatin Vidhyarthi and Catalina Alzate.
The audio (sonification of the weather data) was transmitted over a FM channel, accesible on analog radio receivers as well as mobile phones of the audience, who could tune to the particular frequency and follow the graphs while listening to the audio tracks.
I created a set of postcards with the visualization of the weather data of random dates in both San Francisco and Bangalore on the front, and a QR code at the back of the postcards, that redirects to the audiofiles with the data sonification of the respective day. In that way, the audience could follow the graphs as the sound progressed. The postcards were a powerful conversation-starter to help people relate to the topic of the installation, and therefore engage with it: "Do you remember the weather in Bangalore two days ago?"
Below you can check each one of this postcards and listen to the respective soundtrack. Follow the graph according to the music!
This artwork has been installed at:
- Festival of Stories, Cubbon Park Metro Station (22-23 October, 2016)
- Science Gallery exhibition at BengaluruITE.biz, Bangalore Palace (28-30 November, 2016)