Collaborators: Liz Barry, Jessica Einhorn and Lailye Weidman
Project website: http://higher-e-d.tumblr.com/
In our collaboration, we will explore the physical relationship between the wind moving through urban environments and our bodies using the connective media of kite / balloon aerial mapping devices and weather observation movement scores during outdoor research activities.
Collecting data by kite aerial photography presents us with an opportunity to see ourselves in the landscape and recognize our participation with the elements above. The triangular connection among the body, the camera, and the physical environment creates a dynamic and personal active collaboration. Energy in the swirling, surface level wind currents carries the reflection of urban built form in its turbulence; above the level of buildings, wind currents are affected by the urban heat island generated by the city itself. Higher-level wind currents are driven by diurnal and regional flows that can be continental in scale. Recognizing that we are active members of an urban ecosystem and larger global weather systems is an extremely empowering idea; employing the wind to view ourselves in our city helps us bring this realization home.
Throughout HigherED, we will be noticing, monitoring, and moving with the wind and cloud patterns in different areas of New York City. Wind patterns can be felt and heard while holding the vibrating tethers on airborne kites and balloons. The Public Laboratory research method of kite-borne cameras taking pictures of the ground will be reinterpreted to include aerial video of the people moving through the landscape while holding the aerial device. The practice of aerial mapping will also be inverted by adding a second camera facing up for capturing cloud patterns that can’t be seen from the ground in dense urban environments. Together, this re-crafting of research methods will allow us, along with other participants, to make cloud observations, move our bodies with the inspiration of those observations and with the physical push from the wind and pull from the kite.
We plan to visit many different urban landscapes in our exploration of city wind and cloud patterns. By varying the percentage of sky coverage, vegetation, and open space among other factors, we selected areas that we feel will provide representative samples of the range of wind conditions around New York City, and contribute to an exploratory wind map. Places will include an open park landscape, a downtown or midtown high-rise street, a high and low altitude spot, and a riparian zone. We don’t know what these different locations will show us about ourselves and our city, but we hope each will inspire a new dance, a new angle to view our city, and a new community to reach out to. Diversifying our locations will also enable us to stitch together a patchwork of beautiful aerial images.