Ars Electronica 2002
Festival-Website 2002
Back to:
Festival 1979-2007



'Werner Jauk Werner Jauk / 'Heimo Ranzenbacher Heimo Ranzenbacher

Klimakonverter (climate converter) is an on-site and online installation based on a convergence of the physical weather with dimensions of the perception of the weather. Klimakonverter is an “imagery” of the conversion of systemic behavior into a physical context of experience.

“Imageries” are patterns of thinking derived from experience. (For example, if you would suddenly find yourself in a state of weightlessness, you would initially behave according to experience gained under conditions of gravitation. Such imageries determined out of one’s own point of view of things (from a “central perspective”) can be contrasted to auditory imageries. These are based on physically motionless perception of acoustic events that, through their behavior, depict time and space (hearing the behavior of things from a “spectral perspective”).
Thus, auditory imageries can be interfaces that make immediate physical experience with systems into tools of encounter with systemic behavior. (Klimakonverter is based on the creation of auditory imageries out of the convergence of certain classes of weather data.) Imageries that lead to systemic thinking have political implications: global processes are indeed rhetorically “recognized” as systemic, but the isolated obser-vation of one of their states nevertheless ultimately tempts those doing so to again interpret these processes as “causal.”
In order to be able to order, compare and control […] our experience of things, we [have] projected the diversity of existence onto a few possible states of a simple, easy-to-manage system.
Such systems are a systematic distortion of the capacity to understand. Inherent in precisely this economic simplification (of thinking) is the danger of political populism. In the process of civilization, climatic zones have established the basis of political-territorial interests. Nowadays, weather data and forecasts are vital information above all in agrarian cultures and extreme climatic zones. On the other hand, in contemporary Western society obsessed with the collection of experiences, weather information possesses value primarily for recreational activities, “talking about the weather” has just a social function.
Klimakonverter juxtaposes these dimensions of the weather to one another. On-site, both objective data about the weather as well as the subjective data that results after processing by and presentation in the mass media are “converted” into a sensory experiential context. The objective data and sonograms of the moderation of worldwide TV weather shows are visualized and translated into an artificial climate; the “talk-ing about the weather” is initiated as a way of playing with the installation. This gives rise to an auditory imagery made up of humidity, light, temperature, wind, etc., the “livability” of which is indicated by the thriving or dying of plants.

Translated from the German by Mel Greenwald

Supported by Stadt Graz / Kultur; Land Steiermark / Kultur; Bundeskanzleramt Sektion Kunst