Scries is a video stream of indefinite length which frames a reflective sphere in its relationship to a set of environments. The work consists of an archive of short video clips which are continuously edited into an ongoing video by a custom software, according to a set of simple rules.
To “scry” is to attempt to foretell the future through a reflective device, like the proverbial crystal ball. The work’s title Scries appropriates this term to suggest the human desire to find meaning in patterns, to understand or predict the future, to connect future to past, to draw connections between the human-scale and the planetary scale, to connect the psychological to the cosmological.
In developing Scries we were interested in remote sensing, data collection and simulation as specific historical practises, and in the way they both construct and express certain paradigms for apprehending and hypothesising climatological change. Scries is the result of a practical experimentation with the ways in which scientific modes of structured inquiry and generative modelling relate to more aesthetically oriented and open-ended engines of cosmogony.
The images in the video are created with Emil Rønn Andersens technical arrangement DK179913, which creates artificial lighting according to principles similar to those found in additive fabrication like 3D printing. The synthetic milieus which constitute Scries are a result of the interplay between the light environments generated by DK179913; a reflective spherical body; and a set of material and ecosystem samples, gathered from specific sites related to climate science in Denmark.
As an extension of Emil Rønn Andersen’s research and development stay with Primer we established a joint effort to work with climate scientists based in Denmark. This lead to a longer engagement with sites and practices that relate to the full stack of climate science, ranging from environmental data collection and empirical analysis to macro-scale computational climate modelling and physical simulations of climate in living ecosystems.
The following sites are documented and sampled in the work:
The six phytotron chambers at RERAF (Risø Environmental Risk Assessment Facility). A phytotron is an enclosed and highly controlled plant growth facility, used to study how physiology of plants change in artificially produced environments. The chambers can control their internal climate from subarctic to tropical conditions.
The Niels Bohr Ice Core Storage Facility at Centre for Ice and Climate. The facility holds a collection of drill cores sampled from the inland ice sheets of Greenland over the past six decades. Ice cores from the facility are studied to understand paleoclimates, study ice physiology and to test and inform future climate models.
The outdoor climate simulation experiment CLIMAITE. A fifteen year old ongoing climate simulation system placed within a living grassland ecosystem of a heath landscape. The simulation alters CO2 levels, temperatures and precipitation to match probable local weather conditions in 2070.
The ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) station in Sorø. An environmental sensing system set up in a mature beech forest in 1996 as a part of an international effort to collect climate related data from forests across the planet. The station produces one of the world’s oldest continuous datasets of carbon sequestration in forests.
These sites are complemented by two “model” ecosystems; Draved Skov, a primeval forest that represents one of the few ecosystems in Denmark which has not been directly humanly managed, and a fallow field in Copenhagen.
The project is made for the 13th Shanghai Biennial with support from the Danish Arts Foundation and Beckett Foundation. Scries can be viewed at the Power Station of Art as a part of the biennial exhibition Bodies of Water between 16th of April – 27th of June 2021.
Media software is developed by designer Asger Behncke Jacobsen.
Conceptualisation of Scries has been developed through conversations with author Elvia Wilk.