Special Projects

World Weather Network: Liam Gillick’s A Variability Quantifier

Image: Josh Jensen

Image: Josh Jensen

Image: Josh Jensen

Image: Josh Jensen

Image: Josh Jensen

Image: Josh Jensen

21 June 2022

FOGO ISLAND ARTS INVITES LIAM GILLICK TO JOIN GROUND-BREAKING ALLIANCE OF ARTISTS AND WRITERS IN 28 COUNTRIES ACROSS THE WORLD TO FORM THE WORLD WEATHER NETWORK IN RESPONSE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS

In response to the global climate emergency, Fogo Island Arts has invited Liam Gillick to join artists and writers from 28 arts organisations across the world to form the World Weather Network, a ground-breaking constellation of ‘weather stations’ located across the world in oceans, deserts, mountains, farmland, rainforests, observatories, lighthouses and cities.

For one year starting on 21 June 2022, the artists and writers will share ‘weather reports’ in the form of observations, stories, images and imaginings about their local weather and our shared climate, creating an archipelago of voices and viewpoints on a new global platform.

On Fogo Island, Liam Gillick’s A Variability Quantifier (aka The Fogo Island Red Weather Station) is an artwork intended to function as an operational weather station. It gathers local weather data and is a place for education, reflection, and discussion. The site and work are open for people to visit and use.

With advice from partners in the local community, Liam Gillick developed his concept for a 2/3 scale model of a typical fishing stage structure, commonly found on Fogo Island. The structure is a framework for scientists and local community members to add meteorological instruments that are helpful in measuring and tracking local weather. Crucially, it helps to monitor changes connected to an increasing experience of the climate crisis. The island has a front row seat on the Labrador Current for observing changes to events such as the annual passage of icebergs in ‘Iceberg Alley’.

Gillick’s project for Fogo Island develops his interest in the origins of understanding climate science that has been present in several of his works. In recent years he has made specific reference to the work of the eminent Japanese-American climatologist Syukuro Manabe. Manabe, along with his colleagues, developed refined mathematical tools to model the atmosphere in the mid-1960s.

The structure is maintained as a site for measurement and experimentation. The base-level operation is a remote autonomous weather station gathering local climate data and sharing it online. The site is also used as a lab for the introduction of new monitoring and measuring equipment and specific targeted experimentation as the project develops and local needs or desires to gather additional information emerge. It also functions as a site for school visits to further the understanding of the role that scientific modelling and data gathering play in relation to climate. The structure is RAL 3020 red, a colour Gillick often uses to indicate the tension between a functional framework and an artwork, integrated yet separate from its surroundings.

A Variability Quantifier (aka The Fogo Island Red Weather Station), 2022 is being acquired by the National Gallery of Canada as part of its National Outreach initiative in which artworks from the collection are sited and maintained at localities across the country. The work will be displayed on the island through October 2026.

“Art has always been used to understand and elevate our environment. This project brings together so many new perspectives that it will accelerate critical thinking about our current crisis. I am interested in the science of the climate crisis. My project is to collect data to feed into the global system. I always want to accentuate the clear maths and science that have long proved the catastrophic changes that we all face.” (Liam Gillick)

Offering different ways of looking at, listening to, and living with the weather, writers and artists’ weather reports will be shared on the World Weather Network platform from each location: the Himalayas, the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq and the desert of the Arabian peninsula; the Great Salt Lake in Utah and the ‘Great Ocean of Kiwa’ in the South Pacific; ‘iceberg alley’ off the coast of Newfoundland, the waters of the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Circle; a tropical rainforest in Guyana and farmland in Ijebu in Nigeria. Artists and writers are working in observatories in Kanagawa in Japan and Manila in the Philippines; looking at cloud data in China and lichens in France; lighthouses on the coast of Peru, the Basque Country and the Snaefellsness peninsula in Iceland; and cities including Dhaka, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London and Seoul.

Climate scientists, environmentalists and communities will participate in a wide-ranging programme of special events held in each location and online through the platform.  Through the course of the year, the London Review of Books are commissioning special reports from writers based in many of the locations in the World Weather Network.

Whilst each organisation is reporting on their local weather, every one of these ‘weather stations’ is connected by the over-heating of the world’s atmosphere. The World Weather Network presents alternative ways of responding to the world’s weather and climate, and is an invitation to look, listen, learn and act.

To learn more, visit the World Weather Network platform: www.worldweathernetwork.org

Media Enquiries:

Iris Stunzi, Program Manager, Fogo Island Arts, [email protected]

Josée-Britanie Mallet, Senior Officer, Media and Public Relations, National Gallery of Canada, [email protected]

About the World Weather Network

The world’s weather is not what it was. We see glaciers melting and water levels rising. Some lands are flooded and others are parched. Everywhere is heating up. Formed in response to the climate emergency, the World Weather Network is a constellation of weather stations set up by 28 arts agencies around the world and an invitation to look, listen, learn, and act. From June 21 2022 to June 21 2023, artists, writers and communities will share observations, stories, reflections and images about their local weather, creating an archipelago of voices and viewpoints. Engaging climate scientists and environmentalists, the World Weather Network brings together diverse world views and different ways of understanding the weather across multiple localities and languages.

ARTANGEL, London

ARTINGENIUM, San Sebastián

ART JAMEEL, Dubai

ART SONJE CENTER, Seoul

BUNDANON, New South Wales

DHAKA ART SUMMIT, Bangladesh

ENOURA OBSERVATORY, Japan

NICOLETTA FIORUCCI FOUNDATION, Grasse

FOGO ISLAND ARTS, Newfoundland & Labrador

FONDAZIONE SANDRETTO RE REBAUDENGO, Torino

HOLT-SMITHSON FOUNDATION, New Mexico

ICELANDIC ARTS CENTRE, Reykjavik

IHME HELSINKI, Helsinki

KHOJ, New Delhi

MALI, Lima

MCAD, Manila

NEON, Athens

NGO, Johannesburg

WAAG, Amsterdam

RUYA FOUNDATION, Iraq

SAHA, Istanbul

SOPHIA POINT, Guyana

TERRA FOUNDATION, Comporta

TE TUHI, Aotearoa / New Zealand

UCCA, Beijing / Qinhuangdao

YINKA SHONIBARE FOUNDATION, Lagos / Ijebu

32 DEGREES EAST, Uganda

About the London Review of Books

In parallel with the World Weather Network, every two weeks throughout the year, there will be a new dispatch from a London Review of Books contributor covering an aspect of the climate or weather at one of the WWN locations, published as an LRB newsletter and on the LRB and World Weather Network websites. These include Rosa Lyster on lightning in Johannesburg, Skye Arundhati Thomas on the heat in Delhi, Mimi Jiang on the air in Beijing, Izzy Finkel in Istanbul, and Adewale Maja-Pearce reporting from Lagos.

Founded in 1979, the LRB, Europe’s leading review of culture and ideas, celebrated its 1000th issue at the end of last year. Published twice a month, it provides the space for many of the world’s best writers to explore a wide variety of subjects in exhilarating detail – from art and politics to science and technology via history and philosophy, fiction and poetry. In the age of the long read, the LRB remains the pre-eminent exponent of the intellectual essay, admired around the world for its fearlessness, its range and its elegance. To receive the LRB newsletter, sign up at: https://www.lrb.co.uk/account/newsletter-signup

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