Art organizations have banded together to form “weather stations” ranging from London’s Senate Chamber Library to Japan’s Enoura Observatory in response to the climate emergency.
The World Weather Network is made up of 28 art organizations that will share “weather reports” for a year in the form of observations, stories, images and imaginations about the local weather and our shared climate.
The constellation of “weather stations” will be located across oceans, deserts, mountains, farmland, rainforests, observatories, lighthouses and cities, creating a collection of voices and points of view on a global platform.
Professor Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, said: “With the World Weather Attribution, we have tried to bring scientific evidence of the role of climate change into our climate conversations, but science alone cannot change the world.
“Art and literature can. So the World Weather Network is just what it takes to see climate change very differently than we think it is today.”
Artists’ weather reports will be shared on each location’s World Weather Network platform – including from a tropical rainforest in Guyana, the swamps of Mesopotamia 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 have translated different words for weather into 10 languages commonly spoken in the UK, creating a 1,000-word weather dictionary, which will open at London’s Senate Chamber Library on 22 June.
Other cities involved include Dhaka, Istanbul, Johannesburg and Seoul.
Meanwhile, on Fogo Island, Canada, British artist Liam Gillick is creating an operational weather station for use 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 Ilha do Fogo will collect data on the local climate. Mathematics and science have been clear for a long time. We all face catastrophic changes as a result of our overheated planet.” In a lighthouse on the island of Santa Clara, the sculpture Hondolea by Cristina Iglesias invites reflection on deep time and everyday life.
She said: “For centuries, lighthouses on coasts all over the world have issued warnings about dangers at sea. Extreme weather warnings are now shared every day by meteorologists and climate scientists.
“What can art do in the face of this emergency? It asks us to listen, look, think. That’s why I made my sculpture, Hondolea, in the old lighthouse on the island of Santa Clara, off the Basque coast.”
Hiroshi Sugimoto will also collaborate with the Enoura Observatory in Japan to observe the turbulence of the Earth’s atmosphere.
“Earth’s atmosphere is just a thin membrane on the surface of this fragile planet. Without him, life would be impossible. This is where the “climate” exists.
“From the Enoura Observatory overlooking Sagami Bay, I will offer new perspectives on the atmosphere, climate and changing weather conditions we all experience,” he said.
The World Weather Network will also present alternative ways of responding to the world’s weather and is an initiation to look, listen, learn and act.
Weather reports will begin on June 21.