Bringing typhoons closer | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Bringing typhoons closer

By Michael Koehle

I have been thinking about the climate crisis and weather patterns for some time. I'm baffled/fascinated by people's disregard for the urgent warnings of experts. I think this denial's source is an inability to comprehend changes of this magnitude, occurring at a large time scale. I share that base failure of imagination, that lack of understanding. We are adapted to understand local catastrophes or anticipate dangers a year or two away. It is difficult to imagine how our individual decisions can sum to impact the entire world, decades from now. Through my art process, I am trying to develop some sense of how weather will change us. It is a visceral approach to the questions at hand – a way to bring the far away close and immediate. 

The source material for these works are extreme weather events. The works are three dimensional, made up of thousands of paper cross sections. Each paper's shape is cut and burned with a laser cutter. I then hand apply each paper section to a panel, building the image line by line. The works have depth and texture. While they appear flat from one angle, they are in fact contoured and topographical. The pieces are more complex than they originally appear, changing with the point of view. The 2-dimensional, far away images of these events become physical, sharing our space.