Schick Art Gallery

Nathalie Miebach
Artist Statement

My work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations. Using the methodologies and processes of both disciplines, I translate scientific data related to ecology, climate change and meteorology into three-dimensional structures. My method of translation is principally that of weaving – in particular basket weaving – as it provides me with a simple yet highly effective grid through which to interpret data in three-dimensional space. The data I use is a combination of my own, which I gather on a daily basis using low-tech data-collecting devices, as well as regional or global data from the Internet. By staying true to the numbers, these woven pieces tread an uneasy divide between functioning both as sculptures in space as well as instruments that could be used in the actual environment from which the data originates.

Central to this work is my desire to explore the role visual aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of scientific information. By utilizing artistic processes and everyday materials, I am questioning and expanding the traditional boundaries through which science data has been visually translated (ex: graphs, diagrams), while at the same time provoking expectations of what kind of visual vocabulary is considered to be in the domain of 'science' or 'art'.

For the past three years, I have been working on a project called "Recording and Translating Climate Change". The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of weather and what it means to live in an age of human-induced climate change. Using my own data-collecting devices, I gather weather observations from specific ecosystems, which are then compared to historical and global meteorological trends. All of these pieces look at the complexity of behavioral interactions of living/non-living systems that make up, or are influenced by, weather. The latest development in this project includes data translation into musical scores.  I choose several elements from my data and "map" the numbers (in pictorial form) on score sheets.  Musicians then interpret the "score" as musical compositions and I interpret the score as three-dimensional sculptures.   My aim is twofold: to convey a nuance or level of emotionality surrounding my research that thus far has been absent from my visual work and to reveal patterns in the data musicians might identify which I have failed to see.