I make travel remotes.
A transplant to Texas, my weather changing travel remotes are based on memories of the weather in Midwestern Kansas and present observations of the heat and humidity thickening the South Texas air.
Below are a few of my remote controls and the weather they want to change. My process is a mix of physical materials and lens-based practices. Ideas are shaped from my reading and research on scientific weather manipulation. The rest is about love and loss, and staying alive.
Rain or Shine
I create heavy weather travel remotes to imagine myself a master manipulator of climate change. I long to travel and disruptions due to weather are happening so disproportionately that peoples’ jobs and daily lives are routinely affected. I was surprised by how much, recently, when slightly bad weather, a day of blustery winds in South Texas, set into motion a cascade of events that sidelined 1500 American Airline flights nationally for four days.
My childhood response to climate comes from having grown up in Kansas, on prairie land my grandfather homesteaded with his team of six plow horses. It was Kansas where I walked in corn and wheat fields. I also stepped over bumpy outcroppings of limestone rock and heard family begrudge Juniper trees as weeds because of their thirsty root systems.
Planning for what the weather might bring tomorrow in Kansas, implied a long look at one grand aspect of nature we could control- our emotional selves. I faced tornados. I grew up wind resilient wearing headscarves. I was proud feeling abundantly responsible for enough food to feed the world, too. After all, there were children starving in China, they said. I learned to stay tuned to the weather by looking, listening, and feeling.
Where I live now and call home is Houston, Texas. Most every day is soaked in humidity and heat. This year, 2021 was different...I saw fronds on tall palms blanketed in snow. The Texas grid system, wasn't prepared either for those four days of freezing cold, temperatures. Even the leaves on my indoor African violet suffered frostbite. And the years before that, you ask? A once-in-a-hundred-year flood happened two years in a row with a once in five-hundred-year flood following those.
The question remains for me whether getting in a car when it starts to rain is safe. Our bayou waters can rise quickly in freeway underpasses and racing canoe are dangerous during street rescues.
With extreme weather more common, normal travel has become more complicated. Factor in a world-wide health pandemic, and my desire to travel is more like planning an escape. It's why making weather changing remote controllers hold an appeal- they allow me to imagine the very best.