This excerpt is taken from a live audiovisual performance piece entitled The Philosophy of Storms. This work was inspired by my interest in early meteorologic science and climate theory. I am fascinated by cultural shifts occurring during the American Victorian period, when faith-based interpretations of natural phenomena were gradually overturned in favor of scientific research and analysis. Extreme weather events once considered acts of God by frontier settlers grew into a burgeoning field of federal research as as early climate scientists began to develop storm theories and models, some of them quite outlandish in their own right. I find this historical period especially provocative because of the preoccupation with scientific interpretation and desire for human control of phenomena which previously been accepted as divine intervention.
This work is one in a series of what I call "platter projects." I build miniature dioramas on melted vinyl records and “play” them live on a turntable. I take a camera feed of the rotating platters and superimpose it in real time with archival footage that I have gathered from public archives. All of the footage used in this piece was collected at the National Archive in Washington DC. I build software to control all aspects of the performance- turntable speed (driven by a foot pedal which supplies voltage to the turntable), the video controls, the soundtrack and the lighting cues, which change throughout the piece. Different relationships between aural and visual elements develop over the course of the piece, at times the audio signal influencing the visual, at times the other way around.