A certain state of exhaustion by Laura Demers
8 November 2019 – 27 January 2019
Filled with chemicals, bacteria, soot, dust, and other particles, clouds constitute a matrix upon which human and industrial presence are recorded. In the last five decades, the term “anthropogenic cloud” was coined by meteorologists to describe cloud formations that are created by human-induced sources of condensation such as aircraft engines, geothermal power plants, cooling towers and smokestacks. While these artificial meteorological forms are largely accidental byproducts of industrialization, humans have also made deliberate efforts to claim and master the skies by engineering weather.
These days, the hubristic desire to manipulate weather patterns (ie. through cloud seeding, a process discovered in 1946 by Vincent Schaefer, an American chemist employed by General Electric) generally stems from anxieties surrounding the threat of ecological crisis. Scientific research is being conducted on aerosols that could be sprayed into the atmosphere from high altitudes so as to increase the reflective quality of clouds, thus preventing sun rays from penetrating the ozone layer, forcibly cooling the Earth as a result. Understandably, many fear that “suppressing the symptoms [of a warming planet] would reduce the political will to cure the true underlying disease.” Despite these technologies that may or may not insulate us from change, a greater urgency prevails in knowing and perceiving the signs of our changing atmosphere.
A certain state of exhaustion gathers a functioning hygrothermograph that remains attuned to the conditions of its surroundings, a silk photographic print, and a looping video combining found footage of Schaefer’s experiments with the spewing of a single exhale made visible by the presence of smoke.
Laura Demers is an artist, writer, and emerging curator based in Toronto. She has exhibited her work in Ottawa, Toronto, Cambridge, and Montreal; and has written for Prefix Photo, Public Parking, Blank Cheque Press, Femme Art Review, and C Magazine, among other publications. Her work and research interests focus on ecology, technology, and feminism; she recently curated Greenhouse Effects as part of Art Spin Hamilton. Laura will complete an artist residency with Le Labo (Toronto’s Francophone Media Arts Centre) in January of 2020, as well as a research/creation residency at the Centre SAGAMIE in Alma, QC in 2021.