Weather as Medium
How can an ecological artwork be considered 'ecological' when all it is made up of is canvas and paint? Planned, created, viewed and then stored within the white walls of a studio, its entire life cycle exists in isolation from the majority of the world. This is the issue I am currently facing with my work. The passion and comfort that accompanies the physical act of painting and creating painterly-style works has become a sort of 'safe space', and therefore created a reluctance to engage with other mediums and materials that would embed it within the world outside of the studio. It has become a mockery of the very thing it is conceptually representing; negotiating ideas of intertwined ecologies and intimate connectivity while it exists itself in isolation.
I see two obvious ways to remedy this problem: Either blend fragments of the world into my art practice, or integrate my work into the outside world. Both options are closely linked and will likely blur into one another at their edges. In her book 'Weather as Media', Ruth Watson takes a similar approach by utilising the weather as a medium within her work. Some relevant notes from her work:
when we feel 'climate fatigue', art has agency
meteorological art acts as alternative to news reports/climate reports which fuel anxiety
treats weather as collaborator and catalyst for ecocrytical conversations
meteorological art also refers to social encounters with live weather
interdisciplinary perspective in which art is infused with atmospheric science and social politics
collision of disciplines and cultures where platforms for ecological change flourish
vibrant site of exchange
global flows of art and artists in dialogue are much like the circulation of weather
describing weather as medium brings atmospheric phenomena to the foreground
as medium, weather connects us to the world
artworks reinterpreting the dramatic narrative of a violent storm
meteorological art unsettles divisions between science and the social world
technique of simulating weathers effects in artwork - Chui Yun (blowing of clouds)
weather is embedded in the very nature of being and creating
energetic flows between art and science allow for meteorological thinking to thrive in both fields
Randerson discusses how she uses weather and meteorological phenomena to connect her art to the world. Rather than simply making art about weather, she instead treats it as a collaborator or "co-performer" within her practice. "As a medium, weather connects us to the world, and to each other through the rain, wind, and sunlight that carry sensations to our human and mechanic receptors." This collision of cultures, where art meets science, creates a unique, vibrant site of exchange; an interdisciplinary perspective in which art is infused with atmospheric science and social politics. This is something that I feel is resonant with my own art practice, for weather is embedded in the very nature of being and creating, it is a massive ecological factor.
Randerson, Janine. Weather as Medium: Toward a Meteorological Art. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2018.