Art, climate change and technology

23 July 2010

In a true blend of science, technology and art, artist Janine Randerson explores the issue of climate change and its effect on migratory birds. Her installation Cascade is now showing at the Waikato Museum. A version of 'Cascade' also played in Copenhagen during the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in November 2009.

Randerson says it was when she was doing a digital artist residency at Waikato University’s Department of Screen and Media Studies in 2006 that the idea came to her to study how scientists visualise climate and weather, and the relationship between weather and its effect on birds and animals. She contacted university scientist Dr David Campbell to get a better scientific understanding of meteorology.

Two years later, Randerson visited the Danish National Environmental Institute and worked there with scientists while she created Cascade for the international art exhibition 'Rethink', a major showcase of new media and interactive art.

“I’m particularly interested in the passage of migratory birds that travel to Auckland’s Miranda Coast – the bar tailed godwit, the sooty shearwater and Arctic tern,” says Anderson. “So I’ve used satellite tracking and GIS mapping in my installation. And as well as the digital imaging used by scientists, I’ve included real footage of birds in flight that have appeared on social networks like Youtube. So I’m also putting the work of citizen journalists and scientists together.”

Sponsored by Panasonic, the Cascade installation features ten circular screens. It opened at Waikato Museum on Thursday July 22 and is showing until September 19.

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