How can we help people embrace the science that reveals our climate has been changing dramatically and very quickly? And more than that, how do we invite them to feel and experience the data so profoundly that it causes them to respond?
These are the questions UK-born artist Caroline S. Roberts brought to her piece the present of my life looks different under trees, an immersive installation of cyanotypes that has been exhibited at BOX13 ArtSpace and HCC Southwest in Houston, TX.
Caroline moved to Houston 18 years ago. A story about a drowned forest from thousands of years ago along with recent flooding in her city, inspired and informed her work.
The installation consists of sixty 11-foot high panels, each one representing a year of Houston weather data and encircling the Back BOX like a grove of trees. Each varies in width based on the rainfall intensity, as measured by the number of days on which the total rainfall was greater than 3 inches: the point at which street flooding occurs. The panel color, from ice-blue to blue-black, represents the average nighttime temperature for that year.
At first glance the immersive nature of this cyanotype installation provides a cool environment as Houston temperatures fall into Fall. However, a closer look gives the bigger picture: more shocking than any graph, this forest-like environment shows the story of rising temperatures and intensifying rain events.
For more information on the data behind this installation please continue to the story and data page.
Next month: Krista Hiser is back with another installment of the Ultimate Cli-Fi Book Club. This time, she looks at a book that hits very close to home. She dives into the pandemic and climate change in Emily St. John Mandel’s novel, Stations Eleven.
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This article is part of The Art House series.
As host of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano regularly features artists who address climate change in their work. The Art House section of his program includes singer/songwriters, visual artists, comics, creative writers, and playwrights. Through a collaboration with Artists and Climate Change and Citizens’ Climate Education, each month Peterson reissues The Art House for this blog. If you have an idea for The Art House, contact Peterson: radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org