model. Festival d'arquitectures de barcelona
IS-06 | 2022 | Speculative Design + XR Installation
How can we empathise with the state of the Earth? The story of our changing climate is told by reports, graphs, and mathematical models; abstract narrators that speak of realities often too big (in time and space) to emotionally move us. We - as a species - have undertaken since the industrial revolution the most rapid project of geoengineering in the earth’s history. Yet, for many of us, much of the time, the scale and speed of our individual everyday perceptions is mismatched against the centuries-long, and hugely significant transformation of our ancient world.
To perceive and diagnose the health of ecosystems, ecological researchers turn to indicator species. The presence and behaviour of these organisms serve as measures for specific environmental conditions - like algal blooms in polluted water. These species are visceral reminders of realities that are more difficult to sense and comprehend.
What would it be like to live alongside an indicator species for the state of the Earth?
Inferstudio speculates on a future where virtual creatures dwell with us in our cities; those distributed sites of concentrated, collective life and its resulting impact upon the Earth. We call these phantom creatures The Auguries; digital organisms whose presence and behaviour are tied to planetary measures of climate change. Over time, we might come to read their expressions much like we read faces. Just as autumn leaves mark the changing seasons, The Auguries mark our changing planet.
Our XR installation for the Model. Festival d'Arquitectures de Barcelona, shows how one of these phantom creatures might respond to climate data collected over the last century. We used four global indicators that have been tracked since 1880 (the earliest year, at the moment, for which global weather and climate reporting is available) to the present. The indicators themselves reflect fundamental conditions that are seen to dramatically affect all forms of life across the planet; atmospheric carbon dioxide, global ocean surface temperature, global land surface temperature, and global mean sea level change.
The installation was displayed at the Plaza Urquinaona from May 5 to May 15 2022.
Scan the QR code below to see the XR model from your own location:
Concept + Research
Project page here: https://www.model.barcelona/ca/els-auguris
Atmospheric carbon dioxide, parts per million
Data Source: EPA
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the most significant contributor to the greenhouse gas effect that is warming the Earth. Promises to reduce carbon emissions form the backbone of environmental agreements like the Paris Climate Accords - yet global emissions continue to rise, and every particle of carbon put into the atmosphere today will remain there for the next 300-1,000 years.
Global ocean and land surface temperature anomalies, degrees celsius
Data Source: Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (CRU)
The mean global temperature for our world’s land masses and oceans collectively tell the story of a rapidly warming planet. To get a sense of the severity and pace of temperature change, data is presented not as absolute temperatures but as deviations from a base time period. The Hadley Centre data sets that we used compare land and ocean surface temperatures to the mean of temperatures from 1901-2000.
Mean global sea level change, mm
Data source: CSIRO
Oceans store 90% of the energy produced by human activity, and absorb ice-melt. Rising sea levels is one indicator of the effect climate change is having on our oceans; one with long-term consequences for coastal ecosystems that are already being flooded. The data we used presented global mean sea levels in millimeters of difference from 1880.