Thank you SciArt! I am excited to start working with Oscar and see where our conversation and collaboration leads!
I am a multidisciplinary visual artist, currently based in Oklahoma as a Tulsa Artist Fellow. For the last several years, I have been working with climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). I translate the data into abstracted woven landscapes and waterscapes, materializing the data with plant-derived fibers and dyes.
These datascapes merge a practice of record keeping with a practice of grieving and merge an expression of scientific research with an expression of lived experience. I view weaving as a way to sense what is often obscured in a data visualization: time, labor, connection to place, grief, care, and the material/organic origins of data. I also view this work as situated within a long history of weaving as a subversive language for women and marginalized groups: In this context the datascapes become a kind of feminist, material archive of climate knowledge, care, and attention in response to the current politics of erasure and climate violence.
As I start this collaboration, I am also finishing up several new series of datascapes, likely the end of my work with this particular NOAA database. These new datascapes will all be in a solo exhibition “Beyond Measure” opening in Tulsa, OK at the end of October. Since you can see earlier finished datascapes on my website, I thought I would use this first post to share images of some of the work in progress.
“Dislocations” is a series of four weavings (each approximately 36"x70") that interweaves climate data for places I've called home (Illinois, New York, California, Oklahoma) and memories of that place's landscapes with climate data for the world's oceans. These photos are of Illinois and Oklahoma on the loom. The color and composition for Dislocations (IL) is informed by the corn fields that surrounded my hometown growing up, while the color and composition of Dislocations (OK) is influenced by the state’s iconic red dirt and rocky earth.
“Fault Lines” are a series of woven portraits for the top fossil fuel extracting states in the U.S, composed of climate data from those states (one for the 6 top oil extracting states, one for natural gas, and one for coal). Each piece in the “Fault Lines” series is comprised of six woven panels stitched together into a piece that is 9.5’ x 5’, the dimension of flags used to drape military caskets. The process of design each datascape involves several steps. After downloading the data, I use Excel spreadsheets to experiment with various color codes and weave structures (patterns). I have included an example of a spreadsheet “sketch” for Fault Lines-Oil as well as a fragment of the weaving in progress on the loom.
My work with NOAA data has continued to open up new questions. I have become particularly interested in the non-human origins of data and the embodied process of collecting and interpreting data. Through this residency, I am very much looking forward to learning from Oscar’s research as a geographer and landscape ecologist and seeing what projects emerge from our dialogue.
Carbon is life. Carbon atoms combine with others to build the molecules that constitute the basis of cells and tissues. Carbon is present in bacteria, in plants, in animals, in algae and in fungi; and on the Earth’s surface, plants are in charge of building life from non-living carbon compounds. Carbon makes up natural fibers and organic pigments; carbon is art.
Carbon is the absence of life. Carbon is in the Earth’s crust, in CO2 that is emitted through respiration and combustion, and that is exchanged between atmosphere and oceans. In fact, most of the Earth’s carbon is stored in rocks and oceans. Carbon is in diamonds, in marble, and in graphite; carbon is art.
Carbon is death. Carbon is released from decaying leaves and animals in forest soils by bacteria. It is emitted as CO2 and transformed into other compounds that will dissolve in water and flow through streams, lakes, and rivers, before reaching the oceans. Carbon is in constant motion. And motion is the cause of all life.
Carbon is history. Agricultural and industrial practices and our reliance on carbon-based energy sources have given carbon the status of defining element of our times. The Anthropocene is (allegedly) the current geological epoch, in which human action is the major driving force of the planet. Carbon is change.
For the past years, my research has focused on how changing climate influences the transfer of carbon between terrestrial and freshwater systems in temperate forested landscapes. These alterations in carbon fluxes have the power to trigger algal blooms and put food quality at risk even in remote lakes. Dealing with diverse data from different sources, I learnt to appreciate the power of visualization as a tool to explore and communicate these complex ecological processes.
In this context, and in times of rapid change and information overload, it is important that scientific findings reach the general public. Acting at the intersection of arts and sciences has the potential to explore, communicate, and inform about these changes. After all, if carbon is change, SciArt is a medium for resilience.
A very improvised, quick, (probably inaccurate), and subjective take on carbon cycling (also a work in progress)