Alternative weather forecast

Posted 13th September 2010 • By Design Indaba • Topic • Category Design Snippets in News
Scientific data is often up in the air. But when translated by artist Natalie Miebach it becomes a lot more tactile.
Solar Beginnings by Natalie Miebach.
Temperature by Natalie Miebach.
Warm Winter by Natalie Miebach.
Barometric Pressure by Natalie Miebach.
Jordan Basin Buoy by Natalie Miebach.
Main Shelf Buoy by Natalie Miebach.

It might seem like the link between art and science is not immediately obvious. That’s until you see the work of Natalie Miebach, a visual artist from Rhode Island in the US.

Miebach explores the intersection between art and science by articulating her scientific observations into three-dimensional structures. By using the methodologies and processes of both disciplines, she presents scientific data related to ecology, climate change and meteorology as works of art.

Basic weaving is the technique Miebach uses for the sculptures as it forms a grid suitable for interpreting data. The sculptures are scaled to the actual numbers so they function as both creative sculptures and educational instruments. Miebach gathers her own data using low-tech data collecting devices or data from the internet.

Central to Miebach’s work is her “desire to explore the role visual aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of science information”. By using artistic processes and everyday materials she pushes the boundaries through which science data is understood.

For the past six years Miebach has been working on a project called “Recording and Translating Climate Change”, which seeks a better understanding of weather within the context of human-induced climate change. Miebach compares her own data, taken from specific ecosystems, with historical and global meteorology trends to examine the complexity of the interaction between living and non-living systems, and how it’s influenced by the weather.

A further development to the project is data translation into musical scores. Miebach chooses elements from the data and maps the numbers on a score sheet. She explains the her objective here is twofold: “To convey a nuance or level of emotionality surrounding my research that thus far has been absent from my visual work and to reveal patterns in the data musicians might identify that I have failed to see.”

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