META exists at the crossroads of art and science and of culture and nature. Tracing the uncommon threads between common topics, META presents its readers with views into the abyss of visual information and with experiments in associative reading. META invites you to browse according to taste.
You may ask, â€œwhat?â€ An archive, a Wunderkammer, a magazine guided by methods of research, collection, preservation, reprint and the linking of topics at their META level.
You may then ask, â€œwhy?â€ To play with information in all its astatic glory. META refrains from attempts at categorization, taking a gamble on dynamic navigation! META eschews the linear in favor of surprise. Each visit starts with a random welcome and ends with an even more random exit.
TIMOTHY J. ATTANUCCI (1979) was born in Boston, Massachusetts and studies German literature at Princeton and the Humboldt University, Berlin. For META, he contributes his musings on the irony mark in No Irony.
DAVID BETH (1974) is a writer and esoteric explorer, and the sovereign Grand Master of the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua. Learn more about his Gnostic involvement in XI. ARS DE REXâ€”Sexual Magic, the Art of the King, where he is interviewed by Ailen Roc.
SUMMER BRENNER is an accomplished writer of poetry and fiction, based in Berkeley, California. Her writing has extended beyond the borders of print into performative and musical realms, and she is also involved with literacy and community projects targeted at youths. For META, she reads from her critically acclaimed novel and discusses her motivation for the project in Driving I-5.
OLAF BREUNING (1970) is a Swiss artist, living in New York and working in photography, video, sculpture, installation and drawing. For METAâ€™s mini interview series, he shares some of his favorite things in accompaniment to a selection of photographic works. See Mini Breuning.
Illustrations by William Buchina
WILLIAM BUCHINA (1978) is an illustrator with a penchant for portraits of political tyrants. In addition, he is a graphic designer and creator of illustrated guides to English grammar. Some of his work is viewable here. He currently lives and works in New York. See his work in The Body of the Event.
DAVE BUNNELL (1952) lives in the small gold-rush era town of Angels Camp, California. This professional spelunker and photographer worked on an Imax film about caves, somewhere beneath Mexico. META interviewed him for Far Beyond Stalactites and Stalagmites.
PETRA CORONATO is probably the only author in the world who didnâ€™t only read Alexanderplatz, but also swept it. She is the owner of tongue tongue Hong Kong, a company founded in 1993 with dependences in Berlin, Vienna and Zurich, which recycles fiction profitably and unpunished to this day. In 2006, she commenced the ongoing photography project The Poetry of Document.
Writer Jeffrey Croteau is the Manager of the Library and Archives at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library in Massachusetts. Read another of his articles on American Masonic groups, ''Brotherly Deception'' published in Cabinet Magazine here. For META he co-authors a discussion on ritual and fraternity for the article Daughters of Job.
MICHELE DANTINIâ€™s (1966) work is characterized by its handling of trans-cultural practices and their socio-environmental implications. A widely translated essayist and performative lecturer, he holds a position as Professor of Contemporary Art History at the UniversitÃ del Piemonte Orientale, Italy. See Chronicles of Deaths Foretold.
PAULINE DOUTRELUINGNE (1982) lived in Beijing for four years, where she co-organized the 2006 Borderline Moving Images Festival. She lives in Berlin and curates projects that bridge European and Asian art. For META, she interviewed Chen Wei in Archeology of the Future.
GEN DOY is Lecturer at De Montfort University. She is the author of Picturing The Self, Drapery and Black Visual Culture. For META, Doy discusses the sensual politics of photography in the works of Claude Cahun.
Ferrante Denise Palma
DENISE PALMA FERRANTE (1975) is a multi-disciplined artist living and working in Berlin. She is also a self-declared anti-religionist. See Timkat 2009.
ADAM FOXWELL is an American audio engineer who has worked internationally, consulting on acoustical room design, sound isolation and mechanical noise control. For META, he presents a study on noise exposure in On the Hunt for Silence in Dubai.
JACQUE FRESCO (1916) is an industrial designer and social engineer, author, lecturer, inventor and Futurist. Based in Venus, Florida, he is developing the practice of Socio-Cyber-Neering. Read the META interview Back to the Futureâ€”The Venus Project.
Dr. BRUNO GLASER is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Soil Science and Soil Geography at the University of Bayreuth. For over several years he has been conducting Amazonian dark earth research from a soil science perspective including soil fertility, sustainability, and archaeology aspects. See Terra Preta .
MARA GOLDWYN (1976) calls herself an artist but does not show anywhere and would never actually introduce herself as such. She has an existential allergy to genres, categories and identity constructs. See Showing the Opposite Side of the Death Machine.
LINDA MAI GREEN (1987) is a photographer and curator based in Berlin. She also co-runs curatorial collectiveÂ Una Tittel.Â For META article A Bridge and Not a Goal, she interviewed artist Serena Porrati.
Artist CAI GUO-QIANG (1957) was born in Chinaâ€™s Fujian Province. While living in Japan between 1986 and 1995 he began to experiment with gunpowder as a medium, gaining international attention. He has gone on to exhibit world wide and to produce large scale pyrotechnic art works. See On Explosions.
Sculptor PATRICK HILL (1972) has exhibited widely in the US and internationally as an important representative of the contemporary Los Angeles art scene. David Kordansky Gallery provided META with images of Hillâ€™s work for Patrick Hillâ€”Sculpture, Associated.
ASDF Makes founder DAVID HORVITZ (1983) is a man of many ideas. One could say this American artistâ€™s medium is the Internet, though it may be more accurate to say that he works in interactive projects. See ASDFâ€”Read On.
RUA MINX is Donna Huanca (1980), an artist who deals with clothing as shelter, transportable homes for nomads and cultural and genetic traces. Her various projects have received a range of support, from the Dallas Museum of Art to StÃ¤delschule, Frankfurt; from the Incehon Womenâ€™s Biennale Korea to British Vogue. She launched METAâ€™s downloadable artist piece series with Mask Maker.
Artist PIETER HUGO (1976) has spent his whole life in Cape Town, South Africa, though travelled extensively pursuing his characteristic brand of documentary photography. A 2002-3 residency at the Beneton Group Communication Research Center, Fabrica, also led to work with Colors magazine. In 2006 he was awarded first prize in the World Press Photo competitionâ€™s Portraits section. Welcome to Nollywood explores a recent project carried out with the Nigerian film industry.
Idnert B. Zlatan
ZLATAN B. IDNERT is an audio engineer who has worked in the fields of modelling for outdoor noise propagation, building acoustics and ground borne vibrations. He has widely consulted on acoustical engineering projects. See On the Hunt for Silence in Dubai.
JAN KEMPENAERS (1968) is an artist and documentary photographer based in Antwerp. He creates mute images of semi urban-places. Regardless of geographical context, his photographs speak powerfully to the post industrial condition and of the technologized human subject. See Spomenik, the Monuments of Former Yugoslavia.
TAO LIN (1983) is an American poet, novelist and short story writer. He is the author of Shoplifting from American Apparel, Eeeee Eee Eeee, and Bed, as well as two poetry collections, you are a little bit happier than I am, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Linâ€™s second novel, Richard Yates, was published in September 2010.
See Tao Linâ€™s Crossword Puzzle.
TAMMY LU is a Canadian artist who makes drawings and artistsâ€™ books. She is the cover artist for the New Metaphysics philosophy series published by Open Humanities Press. See more of her work here. For META she did the drawings for METAphorism.
DAVID MAISELâ€™s (1961) photographs chronicle the complex relationships between natural systems and human intervention. His work is included in many permanent collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Maisel lives and works in the area of San Francisco. See Blooming Souls.
Alison Malone is a photographer and educator who uses both audio and visual documentation to explore subcultures that are overlooked and often misunderstood in American society. View additional work here. For META her photographic series of the same name inspired the article Daughters of Job.
SERGEY MAXIMISHIN (1964) photographed for the Soviet Military Force Group on Cuba from 1985 to 1987. A learned physicist, he worked in the scientific and technical expertise laboratory in the Hermitage Museum and has gone on to become an award winning press photographer.
See The Dostoevsky of Photography.
CONNIE MENDOZA (1971) is a media artist, working between Berlin and Barcelona. Fata Morgana and Other Optical Phenomena discusses her film, in which Mendoza travels back to her birthplace to trace the complex relationships of her childhood to Chilean history and space travel, thereby producing images that mediate the perception of time as a highly subjective matter.
Apostolos Mitsios (1979) is a Greek psychologist, working as a systemic psychotherapist by day and as a freelance writer, preferably, by night. A former contributing editor at online design magazine yatzer.com, he is currently collaborating with the Projective Fairy Tale Test Society in Greece as well as various magazines all over the world. For META article, Death of a Performance, he interviewed artist Esther Ferrer about her intervention at the Cemetery of Art of Morille, Spain.
RACHAEL MORRISON (1981) is an artist, curator, and a librarian at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She is the creator of an art work and a documentary film about the blind telephone hacker Joybubbles, as she describes in 718-362-9578.
TIMOTHY MORTON (1968) is a philosopher and ecologist, and a teaching professor at Rice University. He also is one of the leading figures in the philosophical movement of Speculative Realism. For META he penned some pithy aphorism on the paradigm shift in metaphysics. See METAphorism.
Architect WILLEM JAN NEUTELINGS (1959) has taught at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and Harvard University. His firm, Neutelings Riedijk Architects, is located in Rotterdam. He wrote Spomenik, the Monuments of Former Yugoslavia on Jan Kempenaerâ€™s photo-documentation.
Nikolaj Nielsen is a Brussels-based journalist. For META, Nielsen considers the provocative film "Enjoy Poverty Please" by Dutch artist Renzo Martens in regards to the The Lucrative Business of Chaos and Aid. For more of Nielsen's writing, visit his website.
Andreas Ã–nnerfors (1971) is Associate Professor in the History of Sciences and Ideas based in Lund, Sweden. He has written extensively on organized fraternal sociability in Europe in the context of civil society, cryptology and conspiracy theories. In 2007 he re-enacted a female masonic ritual, contributed to the deciphering project of the copiale-manuscript and commented on the Oslo terrorist Breivik's imaginary world of knighthood in counter-jihadism. Watch a 2012 lecture on "Perceptions of Freemasonry from the 18th century to the Internet" here. For META he co-authors a discussion on ritual and fraternity for the article Daughters of Job.
Yoshua OkÃ³n was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he currently lives. In his often absurd and provocative art, OkÃ³n stages partially scripted scenes using non-actors whose own identities and histories make up the true, underlying story. See Octopus. OkÃ³n founded the artist-run space La PanaderÃa in 1994 and the artist-run space and school SOMA in 2009, both in Mexico City.
LISE PATT is the founder of the Institute of Cultural Inquiry, a peripatetic visual think tank currently headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. Over the years she has treated â€˜collaborationâ€™ as an artist medium, in the development of a non-profit organization that embraces â€˜collective camouflageâ€™ in their ongoing projects. See Inquiry into the Institute of Cultural Inquiry.
KONRAD PETROVSZKY (1977) is a historian specializing in the intellectual history of Southeastern Europe. He wrote a PhD thesis on early modern historiography in Ottoman Europe at the Free University, Berlin. He talks Romania and reenactment in The Body of the Event.
Italian artist SERENA PORRATI (1981) is now currently enrolled in the inaugural year of the MA in Art and Science Program at Central St. Martins in London. She lets META in on her Nietzsche in Turin archive for Linda Greenâ€™s article, A Bridge and Not a Goal.
SUSANNE QUEHENBERGER is a Cultural Studies student at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her focus is climate change, specifically its potential to bring about societal restructuring and the role of art in this scenario. Since 2007, she has worked as an urban gardening activist. For META, she shares her thoughts on geoengineering in Artificial Skies.
Haitian-born, DC-raised MAX RAMEAU is a pan-African theorist, organizer and founder of the group, Take Back the Land. He has worked on issues ranging from economic development to ex-felons. He discusses the US housing crisis in Desperate Times, Desperate Measures.
MILO RAU (1977) is a journalist, essayist, historian, playwright, translator, teacher, film-maker, blogger, reenactor and director of IIPM (International Institute of Political Murder, or Institute for Theoretic and Artistic Reenactments). See The Body of the Event.
AILEN ROC studied various esoteric fields such as ceremonial Magick, Sexual Magick, Tantra, Astrology, Tarot, the Quaballah and different astral-levels along with Psychology. She is currently working on her own tarot deck and a book combining certain occult fields with elements of psychology. See XI. ARS DE REXâ€”Sexual Magic, the Art of the King.
ALAN SHAPIRO (1956) is a key contributor to the fields of idea philosophy, software engineering and social choreography. At 15, he began studying at MIT and has more recently published a book on Star Trek and given talks at the Transmediale and Ars Electronica festivals. In an interview with META, he explains why â€œBeing against work as it is constituted today is fundamental.â€ See A New Computer Science is Underway.
SITU STUDIO was founded in 2005 while its partners were studying architecture at The Cooper Union. Operating at the intersection of architecture and a variety of other disciplines, Situ Studioâ€™s work has been enriched by close collaborations with geologists, writers, engineers, biologists, activists and artists. See Out of Control.
GARY SMALL, M.D., is the Director of the UCLA Memory and Aging Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is the author of iBrain Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind. See This is Your Brain on Technology.
COSETTE THOMPSON is a French-American human rights consultant and freelance writer based in Arizona, USA, where she directed Amnesty International for many years. Her current interests focus on the contribution of artistic expression to the field of human rights and on the protection of threatened languages. See Sentenced to Read.
van Haarlem Dr. Michiel P.
DR. MICHIEL VAN HAARLEM (1964) is the Managing Director of the LOFAR Foundation in the Netherlands, a part of the ASTRON Institute. The astronomer discusses the next generation of telescopes in METAâ€™s Harmony of the Spheres.
Vanden Eynde Maarten
Belgian-born MAARTEN VANDEN EYNDE (1977) lives and works between Rotterdam, Brussels and Saint Mihiel. His projects span all art media, focussing on topics of ecology, archeology, biology and zoology. In 2006 he founded Enough Room for Space for â€œthe creation of physical, virtual and mental space for cultural initiatives by initiating and coordinating events and residence/research projects worldwide.â€ He enlightens META on plastic in Plastic Reef.
Swedish photographer ULRIKA WALMARK (1970) traveled across North America, Israel, Palestine, Iran, India and South Africa from 2003 to 2007, collecting portraits for her project The person behind the person. She now lives in Berlin.
Artist CHEN WEI (1980) works in Beijing and Hangzhou, incorporating influential objects and happenings from his past into the realities of modern China. He is represented by the Platform China Contemporary Art Institute in Beijing. See Archeology of the Future.
V.i.S.d.P. Rachel de Joode
Eberswalderstrasse 32, 10437 Berlin, Germany
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|This is Your Brain on Technology|
|Daughters of Job|
|Death of a Performance|
|Out of Control: Experiments in Participation|
|Terra Pretaâ€”Amazonian Earth|
|A New Computer Science is Underway|
|Claude Cahunâ€”A Sensual Politics of Photography|
|The Clothing of Nature|
|On the Hunt for Silence in Dubai|
|Far Beyond Stalactites and Stalagmites|
|The Body of the Event|
|Sentenced to Read|
|Spomenik, the Monuments of Former Yugoslavia|
|XI. ARS DE REXâ€”Sexual Magic, the Art of the King|
|Tao Linâ€™s Crossword Puzzle|
|The Art of Showing Art|
|Photography and the Invisible|
|Patrick Hillâ€”Sculpture, Associated|
|Showing the Opposite Side of the Death Machine|
|Desperate Times, Desperate Measures|
|A Bridge and Not a Goal|
|This is Your Brain on Technology|
|The Poetry of Document|
|Stories of Life and Love in Todayâ€™s Actual Arctic|
|Fata Morgana and Other Optical Phenomena|
|The Nine Lives of Kaufhaus Jonass|
|The Harmony of the Spheres|
|Back to the Futureâ€”The Venus Project|
|Inquiry into the Institute of Cultural Inquiry|
|The Lucrative Business of Chaos and Aid|
|Welcome to Nollywood|
|Chronicle of Deaths Foretold|
|The Dostoevsky of Photography|
|Archeology of the Future|
By Susanne Quehenberger, translated from German by Emilie Florenkowsky
Look out the window. Do you see clouds? Condensation trails?
A rainbow? Is the sky blue, overcast, gray â€“ gray enough for a raincoat? This article is for all those who seek a more precise understanding of heavenly happenings and of what we are actually seeing up there.
Amateur weather and climate observation remained popular well into the 19th century, particularly among the upper class. The pseudo-scientific pastime actually proved important for documenting activity in the skies and for differentiating regularities and deviations in weather patterns.
A certain vein of sky observation associated weather and celestial patterns with mental states and historical events, thus opening up the realms of interpretation to include more personal and cultural contexts. With the development of professional meteorology the roles of personal experience and amateur interest were largely overshadowed by the objective strength of the weather report.
Along with the tasks of observation and prediction, the active intervention in weather patterns was also transferred to the hands of a new breed of specialists. No longer should magicians and charlatans call up the rain and cast away storms, but scientists. From 1945 to the 1970s, ventures in weather and climate modification schemes enjoyed particular popularity as work to enhance local rainfall â€“ â€œcloud-seedingâ€ â€“ was adopted and furthered by various Cold War military agencies in their experimentation with climatological warfare.
Though already predicted by the Cold War era, concerns on climate change have multiplied exponentially in recent times, enhancing the need for pertinent work like geoengineering with stratospheric sulfur particles.
Following the bad press surrounding Icelandâ€™s EyjafjallajÃ¶kull, it may come as a surprise that there are still plans in the works to simulate volcanic eruptions. However, geoengineeringâ€™s â€œartificial volcanoesâ€ should produce neither dangerous amounts of ash, nor air traffic problems. Their sulfur particles are intended for high elevations where they can dissipate across the globe and remain for years to come. The effects of this grand-scale experiment will be omnipresent and viewable, live, to the naked eye.
These plans are for a large-scale, global experiment to simulate a permanent volcanic eruption, where sulfur particles are to be released into the upper strata of the atmosphere either by rockets, planes or balloons. The particles are meant to reflect Earth-bound sunlight back to the Universe, thereby temporarily compensating for anthropogenic global warming. Geoengineers argue that the function of the artificially placed sulfur particles is the diffuse scattering of inbound sunlight, which in turn radiates light outward, toward the Universe. The loss of light should both darken and cool the Earth. This is perhaps the most popular method, proposed as solar radiation management. Assuming that CO2 emissions will not be sufficiently reduced in the crucial near future, geoengineering could actually provide rescue from the forthcoming climate catastrophe. At least these are the claims of â€œclimate managementâ€ advocates. In the USA and Great Britain, parliamentary hearings on simulating a volcanic eruption have already been held. Geoengineering solutions appear very tempting to politicians and think tanks, as they are comparably inexpensive and can be lead independently of international agreements. High above Russia, atmospheric field experiments were conducted under the direction of Yuri Izrael, a former chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The regional effects of injecting sulfur particles into the atmosphere could turn out quite differently, however. Many scientists fear wind current and precipitation patterns being altered, thus leading to a lack of monsoons as well as to drought and acid rainfall. â€¨Furthermore, despite the sulfurâ€™s desired cooling effect, the process does not address the increasing CO2 concentration and its greenhouse effect. Thus, damages such as overacidified oceans would persist. The project appears especially precarious considering that little is presently known about the effects of atmospheric particles (aerosols). But letâ€™s return to the visual aspect of the matter. Volcanic ash - like pollen, air pollution particles, dust, etc. - has optical characteristics that enable it to scatter, fracture, or absorb light.
The stratospheric particles employed by geoengineers and those released by a volcano are more or less the same: sulfur dioxide (SO2). This is why the term â€œartificial volcanoâ€ is applied to this method of geoengineering with stratospheric sulfur particles. These aerosols alter the skyâ€™s color while simultaneously influencing Earthâ€™s energy balance, foremost in the infrared spectrum. Predictions for the optical changes to the artificial skies in question can be made based upon past experience with volcanoes. In the vicinity of a volcanic eruption, very special light appearances can occur under certain conditions, for example a blue-green shining sun or a red ring around the sun at a 30Â° angle. A bit further away, the air becomes less dark and hazy. The daytime sky becomes whiter instead of blue, and there are strong, red sunsets.
The gases nitrogen and oxygen are invisible; it is the scattering of their molecules that conjures up blue daylight. The scattering of sulfur aerosols - natural or artificial - causes diffused white light to appear, which partly fades the blue light visible in a clear sky. In the morning and evening, when the sun is low, having traveled a long way through the atmosphere, the blue gets filtered out and only the long-wave red and orange light is visible. The more aerosols in the atmosphere, the stronger the sunset. For this reason, sunsets following volcanic eruptions are especially spectacular. Unfortunately, sulfur aerosols also attack the sensitive ozone layer, and thereby the deep, dark blue that descends upon us shortly following sunset. The aerosols also possess optical traits that have an effect on occurrences invisible to the human eye, such as the polarization of light.
Alert sky observers have always noticed the changes that follow a volcanic eruption. These phenomena have left their impression upon art as well. In 1883 the Indonesian volcanic island Krakatau erupted and is said to have been even stronger than the 2010 eruption of EyjafjallajÃ¶kull. Current research points to Edward Munchâ€™s The Scream (1893) referencing the volcanoâ€™s light experience. Certain works by J.M. William Turner and Caspar David Friedrich may have also been inspired by volcanic haze and the red-orange glow that follows the natural disasters. Other historical references to atmospheric phenomena are found in the logbooks of ships or the records of amateur nature observers like those of pioneering English naturalist and ornithologist (studier of birds), the British Deacon Gilbert White (1720-1793). White made the following notes on the unusual appearance of the sky in the year 1783, speculating, at best, that these frightening occurrences had a volcanic cause: â€¨
The summer of the year 1783 was an amazing and portentous one, and full of horrible phaenomena; for besides the alarming meteors and tremendous thunder-storms that affrighted and distressed the different counties of this kingdom the peculiar haze, or smokey fog, that prevailed for many weeks in this island, and in every part of Europe, and even beyond its limits, was a most extraordinary appearance, unlike anything known within the memory of man. [â€¦] The sun, at noon, looked as blank as a clouded moon, and shed a rust-coloured ferruginous light on the ground, and floors of rooms; but was particularly lurid and blood-coloured at rising and setting.
Look out your window. Of course you can witness activity in the skies, but there are also traces that have been left over centuries, both by nature and man, intentionally or otherwise. Further manipulation is planned with geoengineering, though much remains to be discussed on the topic. The up side is that talk of these measures is now beginning to reach broader circles, whereas, until recently, scientific and political committees were the keepers of knowledge on these possibilities.
When viewed in the context of the historical development of sky observation, the current discussion appears rather depleted. The sky and its activity have always been the object of broad cultural exploration. This pertains to the artist as well as the farmer, the nature enthusiast and the esoteric. Deacon Gilbert White attempted to link the skyâ€™s activity with such strange occurrences as meteorites or with animalsâ€™ behavior.
In times such as these, with geoengineering measures already being considered under benefit-cost analyses, it is up to the non-experts to demand the return of their skies. For a conciliation of the debate is not only politically dangerous, but it is likely not capable of countering challenges like those posed by climate change.
Whatever hobby sky observations reveals to us, it will all too often remain secondary to scientifically proven finds. However, we shouldnâ€™t forget that many of the processes â€¨that take place in our atmosphere are actually visible and can be discerned by all of us with the naked eye. Personal sky watching can be exercised in many ways and may help to broaden the spectrum of possibilities for dealing with the sky. And it is precisely â€¨because of the tangible and tentative experience, that hobby sky watching should be considered a valid means to encouraging debate on topics like geoengineering.
SITU STUDIO is a reserach, design and fabrication firm based in Brooklyn. Their space-altering, site-specific architectural installation reOrder augurated the Great Hall project in the Brooklyn Museum. For reOrder and other projects, see Situâ€™s website.
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