THE WEATHER PROJECT

Olafur Eliasson › The Weather Project, Tate Modern, London, 2004



The subject of the weather has long shaped the content of everyday conversation. In The Weather Project, Olafur Eliasson takes this ubiquitous subject as the basis for exploring ideas about experiences, mediation and representation.


[…]

Eliasson views the weather – wind, rain, sun – as one of the few fundamental encounters with nature that can still be experienced in the city.

He is also interested in how the weather shapes a city and, in turn, how the city itself becomes a filter through which to experience the weather, Eliasson has said.
Every city mediates its own weather. As inhabitants, we have grown accustomed to the weather as mediated by the city.

This takes place in numerous ways, on various collective levels ranging from hyper-mediated (or representational) experiences, such as the television weather forecast, to more direct and tangible experiences, like simply getting wet while walking down the street on a rainy day. A level between the two extremes would be sitting inside, looking out of a window onto a sunny or rainy street. The window, as the boundary of one’s tactile engagement with the outside, mediates one’s experience of the exterior weather accordingly.

[…]

Eliasson’s impressive installation draws attention to the fundamental act of perceiving the world around us. But, like the weather, our perceptions are in a continual state of flux. The dynamic variations in the composition of the ephemeral elements of The Weather Project parallel the unpredictability of the weather outside, which despite the efforts and sabotage of humankind still remains beyond our control. 

_

 
Tate Museum › 2004
 

THE ENDLESS CITY

Hubert Blanz › Roadshow #02, 2007

Get used to it. The future is urban and in 50 years it may be weird to find people living in the countryside.

The UN planet-watchers have found not just that we are becoming an urban species but that the world’s cities are growing and merging with each other, forming vast “megaregions

[…]

But what will it be like to live in the endless city?

The answer, says British environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, depends not on the size but what on what kind of cities we build. In Europe you can travel across heavily urbanized areas without even being aware that you are in a megalopolis. A long history of parks, open space, civic responsibility and good public transport has not divorced people from the natural world. “Sustainability can certainly be achieved in urban areas. Cities actually have some distinct advantages when it comes to energy use and transport,” says Porritt.

But life in the endless city would be psychologically intolerable without contact with  nature, he says. The vast city disconnected from the natural world and impossible to leave becomes a vast prison with potentially terrible consequences for both human society and the planet itself.

"The key is the degree to which the cities of the future allow people to live high quality lives. Without access to green space sustainability is impossible. Life must include a connection to the natural environment”

Jonathon Porritt


John Vidal  Adbusters #90: Whole Brain Catalog, 2010

NATURE CHANGES ALONG WITH US

Edward Burtynsky › Nanpu Bridge Interchange, Shanghai, 2004 

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Today, this environment is completely governed by us. It has lost all originality.

How natural is it to have a nine-to-five job, and to go to the office with a suit and a tie? The roofs over our heads, the chairs we sit on, even the trees in the forest-they are all what we want them to be. Just take a look around, and try and find the most natural object present in the space you are in right now.

Most likely that will be you.

[…]

By definition, man is a creature of culture.

[…]

Let us look at it from our own perspective: nature as human experience. The associations that most people have with the notion of nature can be summed up in such terms as infinite, inaccessible, overwhelming in power, primal, wild and fearsome. But where can this kind of nature be found nowadays? In the park on the outskirts of the town? Or on the windowsill, where your cat is gently sleeping? Probably not. Our next nature arises from cultural products that have become so complex that the only way we can relate to them is in terms of a man-nature relationship.

[…]

Nature, or whatever we mean by it, is getting more and more governed by man.

Nature, in the sense of trees, plants, animals, atoms, or climate, has turned into some sort of cultural category. At the same time, products of culture, which we used to be in control of, tend to outgrow us more and more. Those “natural powers” seem to shift to another field. 


Koert Van Mensvoort › Next Nature, 2005

Edward Burtynsky › Nanpu Bridge Interchange, Shanghai, 2004 
—
na·ture
Noun:The phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.
The physical force regarded as causing and regulating these phenomena: “it is impossible to change the laws of nature”.

Edward Burtynsky › Nanpu Bridge Interchange, Shanghai, 2004 

na·ture

Noun:
  1. The phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.
  2. The physical force regarded as causing and regulating these phenomena: “it is impossible to change the laws of nature”.