Earth Observatory Array Action Workshop (EOAAW) Montreal
Northern Atmospheres explores the ways by which our planet has become an object of technoscience; the means by which we read and elicit “planetary knowledge” through technical instruments, now a vascularised and purportedly totalising vast machine for tracking and tracing, storing and historicising data. The Earth and its atmosphere are not a single ‘thing’, but a composite register of terrestrial sensor systems, individual collection point and inferred informations. Earth observation violates the impossible distance, objectivity claims and presumptions of Western technoscience; it is recursive self-experimentation, like “studying your own brain.” The North, and often the Canadian North specifically, is both an imaginary and a real technologised space where much of this planetary knowledge is seen to originate. Expansive Nordic landscapes provide a protectorate from which signals and warnings from the past and for the future seem to perennially emerge, fusing systems and cybernetic thinking and practices, Cold War histories, ‘great outdoors’ eco-naturalism and an apocalyptic progressivism that reconstitutes the Earth itself as an infrastructure for media communication.
During the two-day workshop we will visit a hydro-meteorological station and discuss this visit alongside readings on the becoming-technological and becoming-communicational of planet Earth, with “the North” as a particular thematic. We will then design and build (outdoors) together concrete forms which monumentalise, commemorate and present earth-science collection practices, looking specifically at the atmospheric science of snow and ice. The group will prepare samples for inclusion in this collaborative work, which forms part of the “Earth Observatory Array”, a global array of sculptural forms being created as part of the Shift Register project. The Montreal Earth Observatory Array Element (#427) will be collaboratively located, designed and ceremonially activated by workshop participants.
Northern Atmospheres EOAAW is part of Shift Register, an artistic research project at IXDM investigating how human media, technological and infrastructural activities have marked the earth.