BELLEAU AND CHURCHILL – A PROPOSAL FOR A NEW STANDARD OF MEASUREMENT FOR THE WINDS OF CLIMATE CHANGE (FOR JULIANA)
September 25 – October 23, 2021
A Proposal for a New Standard of Measurement for the Winds of Climate Change (for Juliana) is a distillation of science, history and culture that come to together to create a tool, a symbol and an artifact of our time. The series of windsocks may be used to read the wind speeds of our changing climate as well as to evaluate the blueness of the sky. Through these metrics, we may use our observations to make predictions of our climate future.
The blue sky, emblematic of optimism, was once used by scientists as a metric for scientific observation. The gradient of the five windsocks is derived from the Cyanometer; the standardized instrument used by scientists in the 18th century.
The Cyanometer and its readings were a key component of Alexander von Humboldt’s hypothesis of how elevation, habitat, and climate correlate. These observations lead to our contemporary understanding of ecology. The procession of windsocks mimics the cascade of the banners called Koinobori that celebrate Children’s Day in Japan. Koinobori windsocks are shaped and printed like carp fish, a symbol of strength. Each windsock represents a member of the family and is a different color and size based on each person’s role with the final fish usually being blue for the first child. Each May 5th families across Japan, and throughout the world, celebrate children, their individuality and their happiness.
In combination, the series of windsocks measure the speed of the wind, the blue of the sky and pay homage to the strength and optimism of the world’s children. One such child is Kelsey Juliana, the named plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States for the government’s failure to protect future generations against climate change. In recent years, youth in countries around the globe have successfully sued and petitioned their governments, leading to lasting change and new rights for the environment. This project is dedicated the children fighting for their environmental rights.
Raina Belleau (b. Minneapolis, 88) and Caleb Churchill (b. New York, 80) met in graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. Feeling constrained by the academic structure of departments, majors and media, they began to collaborate. Their small, whimsical yet melancholic, early pieces soon become an entire collaborative practice. Their research-based projects explore the relationships and boundaries between history and legend, fact and fiction, science and speculation. Their work has been featured at GRIN in Providence, Satellite Art Fair as a part of Miami Art Week, and Public Space One in Iowa City. They live and work on Chickasaw land (Memphis, TN) with their two dogs. Learn more here.