Meteorology is not Climate // A Discussion with Geocinema
Meteorology is not Climate
Friday 4, Jan. 6 - 8pm
Starting from an empty cinema hall at the centre of the Remote Sensing and Digital Earth Institute, Beijing, Geocinema has been tracing the filming of earths along with its supporting planetary-scale data infrastructures. Tuning into orbiting satellites, new efforts to standardize, collaborate and share such earth data is seen as one of the most urgent affairs in times of increasingly changing climates.
Called the Digital Belt and Road (DBAR), the Chinese-led Big Data program aims to synchronise Earth Observation data through building an international and centralized platform for various users— from researchers to contractors. DBAR’s main claim is towards a modernity based on predictability; where markets, populations, disasters and climates can be algorithmically calculated and mapped as the nearest future forecast.
The act of cinematic perception—media theorist, Ute Hall states— connects a whole set of elements, technical as well as cultural, topological as well as historical orders, so that the filmic image can never be located as such but only considered in its effects, through different screens and viewing cultures. When speaking of remote sensing, satellites do not directly produce stills or films, instead they aggregate data which goes through numerous series of translations before being experienced as an image. With the simulation of climates, each are built through parameters of meteorological data, only to be later viewed and screened through different institutions, policies and actions where representations are further translated into matters.
Here, vision is never disembodied. The question, “who images?” is still key in the types of knowledge extracted from beams of light. On the 18th of August, 1868, King Mongkut gathered a group of western scientists to Prachuab Khiri Khan, to witness a solar eclipse. This image of the solar eclipse acted as proof of a successful cosmological prediction calculated two years in advance, with its date now marked as Thailand’s official start of progress. But how can other visions of progress be seen? What other bodies may guide different image translations? What goes beyond prediction, beyond watching?
We invite Abhijan Toto from Forest Curriculum as well as curator Lauren Reid to discuss ecologies and histories, where ideas around futures can never be seen as singular.
Lauren Reid is a cultural professional working across curating, anthropology and film. Her research results in exhibitions, writing and moving images that explore the interrelations of the spiritual and supernatural with science and technology, particularly in relation to concepts of the future. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Freie Universität, Berlin with the project ‘Thinking Beyond the Final Frontier: Perception and Representation of Outer Space in Thailand’.
Abhijan Toto is an independent curator and researcher, who has previously worked with institutions in Asia and Europe. Together with Pujita Guha, Toto is a founder and co-director of The Forest Curriculum—an itinerant and nomadic platform for indisciplinary research and mutual co-learning. The Forest Curriculum proposes to assemble a located critique of the Anthropocene via the naturecultures of zomia, the forested belt that connects South and Southeast Asia. The Forest Curriculum works with artists, researchers, indigenous organizations and thinkers, musicians, activists.
‘Geocinema’ is a project run by art historian Asia Bazdyrieva and filmmaker Solveig Suess between Berlin, Beijing and elsewhere. Suess received her MA degree from the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London; Bazdyrieva — from The City University of New York. The project came to being in 2018, in collaboration with Alexey Orlov during The New Normal think-tank in Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design. By focusing on various sensing techniques— from fragmented satellite and ground station data transfers to systems that are able to predict seismic activities— ‘Geocinema’ unwinds feedback loops between processes of image making, production of knowledge, geopolitical imaginations and terraformation.
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