presents a specially commissioned sound installation at Londons iconic Senate House Library featuring thousands of words for the weather in ten languages commonly spoken across the city.
A collaboration with writer Jessica J. Lee and sound artist Claudia Molitor, A Thousand Words for Weather is a new multilingual dictionary of words describing the weather and their definitions, exploring the role of translation and generating a shared language to describe our changing experience of climate and the environment.
Throughout three floors of Senate House Library, which is part of the University of London, visitors can experience the sound of the weather as it responds to live data from the Met Office.
To create the dictionary, Jessica J. Lee worked with seven other UK-based poets to translate ten words for the weather into ten languages, including Arabic, Bengali, English, German, French, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu. The poets and translators who helped create the dictionary include Izdihar Alodhami, Nikhat Hoque with the Bengali British Poetry Collective, Leo Boix, Iris Colomb, Marta Dziurosz, Nina Mingya Powles and Ayça Turkoglu.
Software architect Peter Chilvers has created a bespoke playback system to input data from the Met Office, manipulating the installations sound mix in response to changes in the weather.
A Thousand Words for Weather at Senate House Library will run across the seasons during library opening hours until spring 2023. To accompany the installation, Jessica J. Lee, in collaboration with the School of Advanced Study, will be holding a series of events inviting artists and writers to discuss climate change and the importance of connecting across languages, including best-selling novelist Jeanette Winterson and senior lecturer in climate science Professor Friederike Otto.
A Thousand Words for Weather is one of the first projects to launch as part of the World Weather Network, a ground-breaking new alliance of artists and writers initiated by Artangel and 27 cultural organisations around the world.
In response to the global climate emergency, the World Weather Network is formed of weather stations located across the world in oceans, deserts, mountains, farmland, rainforests, observatories, lighthouses and cities. Until 21 June 2023, artists and writers will share weather reports in the form of observations, stories, images and imaginings about their local weather and our shared climate, creating an archipelago of voices and viewpoints on a new global platform. Climate scientists, environmentalists and communities will participate in a wide-ranging programme of special events held in each location and online through the platform.