25 May 2024

An Interwoven Climate

Tali Weinberg weaves climate
data into undulating installations

 

by Kate Mothes

In 2015, Tali Weinberg was living in California, which has the distinction of being one of few areas of its size that encompasses five distinctive climate zones: Desert, Highland, Cool Interior, Steppe, and Mediterranean. Each of these has been has been impacted by the effects of climate change, from coastal flooding and erosion due to rising sea levels; losses of the Sierra snowpack, which is conserved throughout the warmer months; higher risk of wildfires; agricultural damage; and habitat destruction, among many others.

Reports about these impacts caught Weinberg’s attention, spurring a new direction in her work in 2015, called Datascapes, that both literally and metaphorically weaves together various sources of scientific information. She began with two sub-series titled It’s Not Just About the Rain and Drought Portraits, both of which utilized climate data from the state of California to create woven compositions that “explore both personal and political relationships to place,” she says.

A body of work from 2019 titled Dislocations, which is on view as part of the Weinberg’s’s solo exhibition The Space Between the Threads at Denver Botanic Gardens, starts with annual average temperature records for a place the artist has called home, which she merges with temperature data for the oceans. “The colors and patterns of each piece are based on my memories and connotations of a past home: the cornfields of central Illinois that used to be prairie, the grey grids of New York City, Oklahoma’s red dirt, and the hills of central California that I once thought of as always in bloom, and are now seemingly always on fire,” she says.

Front right: Heat Waves, 2023. Annual average temperature for the world’s land and oceans, petrochemical-derived monofilament, plant fibers, plant and insect dyes. Back wall: Dislocations (IL, NY, CA, OK), 2019. Annual average temperature for four places the artist has called home, interwoven with annual average temperature for the oceans, plant fibers, and plant and insect dyes

Merging two-dimensional tapestry-like surfaces to sculptural, suspended pieces, Weinberg’s installations consider the relationship between the “flatness” of scientific data—the difficulty we often find in connecting statistics to real-life effects—and the three-dimensional, inherently immersive experience of the environment itself, from waterfalls to rolling waves. In her sculptural works, the artist employs vinyl medical tubes as a way to emphasize how climate change directly affects our bodies. Incidentally, tubes of this type are also used for freshwater plumbing or irrigation, tapping into the alarming rate at which large-scale agriculture or water consumption in larger cities is depleting precious aquifers.

By interweaving data for specific places with global ocean data, Weinberg emphasizes connections between individual and global experiences of the climate crisis. “Many of the datascapes in The Space Between Threads start with either ocean data or river basin data,” she says. “I’ve been drawn to these datasets because water is a way to reflect on relationships to place that supersedes the human-determined political borders of states and countries, and because it’s a way of thinking about place or home as a series of flows, relationships, or connections, rather than distinct places with borders to be policed.”

The Space Between the Threads runs through June 9. Find more on Weinberg’s website and Instagram.

Heat Waves (detail), 2023
It's not just about the rain (1895-1914). Panel 1 of 6. Photo by Philip Maisel
It's not just about the rain (1895-1914). Panel 1 of 6. Photo by Philip Maisel
Bound (i.6) (detail), 2024. Annual average temperature for 300 places, 1,500 feet of petrochemical-derived medical tubing, plant fibers, and plant and insect dyes
Left: Heat Waves/Water Falls, 2023. Annual average temperature data for each of the 18 major river basins in the continental U.S., petrochemical-derived medical tubing, plant fibers, plant and insect dyes. Right: It’s Not Just About the Rain, 2015. Annual average temperature and drought index data for California, California-grown organic cotton, and plant and insect dyes
Heat Waves/Water Falls (detail), 2023

Header image: Bound (i.6) (detail), 2024

All images © Tali Weinberg

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