Meteorology Meets Fortune Telling at the "Weather Center for the Apocalypse"
Amelia Marzec parses the internet and religious groups to report the latest end-of-the-world news.
For the last couple of years, Amelia Marzec has been working on a project that points out how weather predictions don't just affect the outdoors, they also influence culture and the sense of community needed to overcome natural disasters. Her project, Weather Center for the Apocalypse, combines DIY scientific processes with divination methods like astrology to make holistic predictions that take environmental, spiritual, and cultural influences into account.
"It creates an alternative to the media-driven forecasts we are bombarded with, by asking the community to participate with their own fears and superstitions," explains a statement about the project on Marzec's website. "It strengthens our ties for the times when we will need to rely on each other."
Using a weather tower built from salvaged materials, Weather Center for the Apocalypse creates a narrative based on climate change, social issues, and the future of media. It will be exhibited along with Future Satellite, a satellite dish and pirate satellite radio system, at Harvestworks in New York, opening August 2. "The weather tower will be displaying live weather data; there will also be a table set up with helpful tools and technologies needed in a disaster scenario; forecast videos from participants will be projected on the wall; there will be a radio program for Future Satellite; a radio transmitter called the Transient Civic Broadcast System will be there in case a warning needs to be sent out to the neighborhood; all the weather data will be available; and I will be present the whole time as the Meteorologist to talk to people about their fears," Marzec tells Creators.
Weather Center for the Apocalypse began as part of STROBE Network, a temporary broadcast network and streaming platform based at Flux Factory in Long Island City. For her part in the project, Marzec produced a series of daily weather forecast videos. "This involved doing daily research into all the disasters that were happening all over the world, which was a really hopeless activity," explains Marzec.
Marzec says this was also an emotional time for her personally, because she was in a relationship that was disintegrating and her grandfather's health was failing as well. "I knew these things were going to end, but didn't know exactly when that was going to happen. I needed to put things in perspective: what would be the most outrageous ending? The world could end, of course. With the focus on climate change, it didn't seem that far off," she says.
Over the years, Marzec continued to develop the project to include more interactive elements. "I felt that it would be better to create a physical/social space where people could gather to share information and discuss the news they were hearing about. I also began to create my own weather instruments, in order to collect local weather data and be independent from news sources," she says.
For those who are concerned with the potential repercussions of climate change, there might be a kind of catharsis to be found in the human face that Weather Center for the Apocalypse puts on the data used in climate science by engaging with others about their emotional response to it. "One woman from Ireland said they'd been having small earthquakes where there weren't any before, and she was afraid the entire earth would erupt in one big earthquake," says Marzec.
For anyone who plans to attend the opening of her exhibition, Marzec has made some predictions about what to expect. "The opening will occur just days before a lunar eclipse, which may have the effect of drawing our communities closer together. The Weather Center would like to contribute to that. We should be at a bit of a standstill politically and financially in August. Overall, there will be a general risk of apocalypse on that day, which is not uncommon these days, so take your usual precautions and head on over to the opening!"
Weather Center for the Apocalypse / Future Satellite will be on display at Harvestworks in New York from August 2 through 4. Find out more about the project as well as other works by Amelia Marzec on her website.