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Art Science

Nathalie Miebach Weaves Data and Anecdotes into Expansive Sculptures to Raise Awareness of the Climate Crisis

November 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Harvey’s Twitter SOS” (2019), paper, wood, vinyl, and data, 84 x 108 x 12 inches. All images © Nathalie Miebach, shared with permission

For Boston-based artist Nathalie Miebach, art is a way to translate scientific data into a visual language of patterns and relationships. In 2007, when she first began to make works that explored weather and climate change, she wanted to better understand the science. “Each piece began with a specific question I had and then the sculpture would attempt to answer it. Over time, I began to be more interested not in how weather instruments record weather, but how we as a species respond to it,” she tells Colossal. “That’s when I began to look at extreme weather events such as floods, storms, and fires.”

Basketweaving plays a central role in Miebach’s practice as it both physically and metaphorically weaves together materials and information. The type of data she collects is both statistical and anecdotal, combining scientific inquiry with personal experiences. “Harvey’s Twitter SOS,” for example, translates 2017 data maps about Hurricane Harvey published by The New York Times. “The inner quilt is made up of shapes that map out income distribution in Houston and uses the city’s highway system as a visual anchor. Various types of information related to Harvey are stitched onto the quilt, including Twitter messages that were sent out during the storm,” she says. Each piece contains numerous pathways, repetitions, and connections, redolent of Rube Goldberg machines in which cause and effect play a central role.

During the past three years, the artist’s work also collates Covid-19 data alongside climate information. “Spinning Towards a New Normal,” on view currently at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, translates Covid-19 infection, death, and vaccination rates for Germany, Italy, and Spain into the form of a spinning top with a plumb bob, representing the struggle of communities and economies to find stability. “We are not invincible, and neither is this planet,” she warns. “For the first time in human history, we have all experienced how vulnerable we can be as a species. The recent work I have been doing is trying to look at these broader environmental changes we are now seeing through this lens of vulnerability.”

You can see Miebach’s work in All Hands On: Basketry at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin through May 25, 2023, and Climate Action, Inspiring Change at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, through June 25, 2023. Explore more of her work on her website and follow updates on Instagram.

 

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Spinning Towards a New Normal” (2022), reed, wood, and data, 20 x 20 x 25 inches

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Detail of “Harvey’s Twitter SOS”

Two details of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Details of “Spinning Towards a New Normal”

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Changing Lines” (2022), paper, wood, and data, 120 x 96 x 10 inches

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“She Cast Her Circles Wide” (2016), rope, paper, wood, and data, 25 x 25 x 27 inches

A detail of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Detail of “Harvey’s Twitter SOS”

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“The Blindness of Seeing Patterns” (2021), paper, wood, and weather and Covid-19 data, 84 x 60 x 6 inches

Details of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Details of “The Blindness of Seeing Patterns”

 

 

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Photography

A Stunning Double Rainbow Frames a Lightning Bolt as It Strikes the Mountainous Virginia Horizon

July 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

Image © Jason Rinehart, shared with permission

During what he thought would be a routine storm-chasing expedition in Virginia last week, photographer Jason Rinehart visited an overlook within the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was hoping to capture the ominous shelf cloud leading that night’s torrent but instead found himself witnessing an unusually lucky sight: as the rain broke during twilight, a double rainbow emerged over the horizon, an already stunning phenomenon made more serendipitous when it was punctured by a bright lightning bolt in the distance. Rinehart captured the perfectly timed moment in a striking photo, which is now part of his extensive archive of landscapes and long-exposure light paintings that you can find on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Photography

A Decade of Haboobs Cloud Landscapes in Thick Walls of Dust in a New Timelapse by Mike Olbinski

April 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

When strong winds gush out of a collapsing thunderstorm as it rips across a dry landscape, they sometimes generate a thick wall of dust known as a haboob. Photographer and storm chaser Mike Olbinski (previously) has been documenting these monumental weather events for the past decade and recently compiled dozens of clips into a dramatic timelapse showing just how quickly these phenomena form and subsequently obscure visibility. Taken between 2011 and 2021, the included footage represents a small fraction of Olbinski’s adventures, which you can see more of on YouTube and Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Temperature Textiles Translate Climate Crisis Data into Colorful, Graphic Knits

January 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Raw Color

Creating tangible records of weather patterns has been a long-running practice for crafters and designers interested in visually documenting the effects of the climate crisis over time. Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach, of the Eindhoven, The Netherlands-based studio Raw Color, join this endeavor with their new collection of knitted goods that embed data about temperature changes, the sea’s rising levels, and emissions directly within their products’ patterns.

In each design, the duo translates data from the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, into colorful, line graphics that represent four possible outcomes for the world through the year 2100. The titular Temperature Textiles rely on warm shades, sea level uses cool blues, purples, and greens, and emissions a combination of the two to visualize the changes.

Raw Color shares more specifics about the data behind Temperature Textiles on its site, where you can also shop the collection of flat and double knits. Follow the studio on Instagram to keep up with its latest designs. (via Design Milk)

 

 

 



Photography

Menacing Storms Rip Across Remote Landscapes in Black-and-White Photos by Mitch Dobrowner

June 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

Hendrum, Minnesota. All images © Mitch Dobrowner, shared with permission

Photographer Mitch Dobrowner (previously) captures some of nature’s most dramatic and overpowering shows of force in his black-and-white images of storm cells. Living between Los Angeles and Lone Pine, California, Dobrowner often travels throughout the Midwest and Southwest documenting major systems that rage across rural regions. He frames lightning strikes, enormous spiraling clouds, and dense sheets of rain through wide angles or panoramic views to contrast the extreme weather with the vast, remote landscapes. Dobrowner will be visiting the Northern Plains in the next few weeks to catch the area’s storm season, which you can follow on Instagram.

 

Peckham, Oklahoma

 

 



Photography

Years of Storms Rage Across the Sky in a Dramatic New Timelapse by Mike Olbinski

May 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

Grab your hat before pressing play on Mike Olbinski’s “Shadows in the Sky.” The Phoenix-based filmmaker, photographer, and storm chaser (previously) just released a turbulent film that shows funnel clouds pouring down to the ground, multiple tornadoes tearing across the landscape in a single blur, and the sky heaving and contorting in constant motion. The dramatic, sometimes dizzying compilation blends Olbinski’s favorite clips from the last few years and is set to Eric Kinney and Danica Dora’s foreboding “The Last Goodbye.” As the track builds in intensity about halfway through, “Shadows in the Sky” switches from monochrome to capture the circulating clouds in full color.

Find an extensive archive of Olbinski’s tumultuous timelapses, including many of the original films containing the scenes shown here, on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 

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