NATHALIE MIEBACH

My most recent series explores the theme of floods through the narratives of recent storms and weather events. Floods have become an increasing familiar reality of weather patterns, both along the coasts and inland. They are violent penetrations into our private spheres, soiling precious family heirlooms and rotting foundations. They arrive sideways through dramatic, violent storm surges and king tides, from above by way of unending rain patterns and through the ground through overwhelmed drainage systems and overtaxed aquifers.

This body of work pulls together the fragmented narratives of various recent storms that have impacted human lives through the lens of water entering our homes and washing away any notion that this is just a passing shower.

 

Sibling Rivalry II, 56'x10x1' (depth), 2017
Paper, wood, fibers, weather data.
Shown as installed at Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA.

Even though this piece was made in 2016, the recent storms of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria changed the meaning of this piece for me. As a result, I decided to build extensions on both sides to adapt the piece to a new space and to recognize that the meaning of a piece of art is in constant flux as new storms, redefine how Katrina and Sandy are understood.

For me, every storm has at least two narratives. The first narratives is the scientific one, made up of temperature differences and pressure gradients that generate energy to build these storms and then propel them forward as they travel over water and land. The components of this narrative come from scientific instruments that function a bit like metronomes in that they dutifully record weather data in defined time segments. The second narrative is the one build on human experience, made up of our own stories or those of others who have survived the storm. Emotions, tragedy, misery, bravery and hope all become important lenses through which we interpret these experiences and try to draw lessons from the storm to be better prepared for the next one. I believe we need both types narratives to understand the dissonance and co-existence between the physic of weather with the theater of human responses as we come to terms with our changing environment.