Session #8: A Phenomenology of Iceberg Collisions
Saadia Mirza engages with fields from landscape studies to the history of cartography, science and technology in her artistic practice. While trained as an architect her practice involves scientists and researchers to “un-blackbox” data sets that tell stories about war, conflict, and climate change using animation, sound spatialization, virtual reality, and cartography.
Currently, Mirza is working with data sets related to massive geological shifts in glaciers and ice shelves through the scientific method of “acoustic sensing”. By shifting the representation of natural bodies like glaciers from visual objects to seismic formations, Mirza describes the relationship between the weather and the terra firma as unresolved natural process, now accelerated by a relatively sudden shift in the Earth’s climate. Over the last year Haseeb Ahmed’s program Taming the Horror Vacui at Rib has read a broad range of scalar realities through the fluid medium of the air. Moving from how air has conditioned architecture, shaped urban plans, and modeled our forms of thought in art, history, and theory, with Mirza we will consider the complex and changing conditions of wind and weather modeled through image and sound over the expanse of geological eras.
Together with Mirza we will consider the largest temporal and physical scales that the Earth has to offer. In his Session #4 presentation, Olivier Chazot, prepared us by establishing the relationship of the flow of fluids and the flow of time as a phenomenological and technical framework. However, comprehending such enormity requires models to mediate and scale to that of an observer. In Session #2 Paolo Patelli’s presentation furnished the pleasures and perils of relying on models while Michiel Huijben’s workshop was an opportunity to consider abstraction through making. Using remote-sensing technologies as a prosthetic to experience realities far beyond the scale of the body Mirza processes the aesthetic implication for how they create knowledge in a world of incomplete information.
by Saadia Mirza
Saadia Mirza works as an architect by training and has taught the last 8 years on a range of subjects including architecture, design, media arts, ethnography, and visual and spatial analysis. Mirza’s most recent project was conducted in conversation with archaeologists at the CAMEL Lab at the University of Chicago and focuses on visualizing conflict and militarization in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mirza is currently in conversation with glaciologists at ETH Zürich, the University of Chicago and Université Paris Diderot while working on a project on the sounds of historic Antarctic ice events and is working on a film based on fieldwork on the Rhone glacier in the Swiss Alps informed by scientists at ETH in Zurich. Mirza is a PhD candidate in the social sciences at the University of Chicago and currently an artist-in-residence at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris and adjunct faculty at Sciences Po, Paris/Reims.