Weather Tower, 2016, wood, glass, acrylic, electronics, H x W x Depth: 5.5’ x 10” x 10.”
A number of years ago I lost all of the hearing in one of my ears due to a tumor. As I focused on the reality of daily communication failure in my own life, I began to pay more attention to the physical objects that make up our telecommunications infrastructure: our phones, our Internet, our radios, and other devices. I began building a series of objects to avert possible future disasters of communication in our society. The pieces are built from salvaged materials including consumer electronics. They question our current methods of manufacturing and broadcasting, by exploring how we can stay connected despite any rift in the functionality of our systems. The objects become increasingly story-driven as participants interact with the work. They question the politics of ownership over our communications infrastructure, and draw attention to the cost of our participation in it.
In the aftermath of superstorms brought about by capitalism’s blind eye towards climate change, when cell phone towers are down and governmental help is absent, we need to consider alternate ways of communicating. The Weather Center for the Apocalypse, while it does collect weather readings for the micro-climate it is situated in, also provides a place for people to share news by word-of-mouth. The data that is collected are the stories informing the communities we live in. In an era of questionable news sources online, do we trust information coming from our own neighbors? Is it possible to create connections and strengthen our communities offline, for the times we may really need it?
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