Keynote: Eyal Weizman_CLOUD STUDIES
Eyal Weizman is Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures and founding director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2010, Weizman founded the research agency Forensic Architecture, documented in FORENSIS (Sternberg, 2014) and Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability (Zone/MIT, 2017).
Tear gas is used to disperse bodies gathering in democratic protest, white phosphorus and chlorine gas are used to spread terror in cities, herbicide is sprayed from airplanes to destroy fields and displace those whose livelihood depends on them, arson is used to eradicate forests for industrial plantations. Mobilized by state and corporate powers, toxic clouds colonize the air we breathe across different scales and durations, from urban squares to continents and from incidents to epochal latencies.
Studying such contemporary clouds necessitate a different approach to the analysis of kinetic encounters where “every contact leaves a trace”. Clouds are the epitome of transformations and their dynamics are elusive, governed by nonlinear and multi-causal logics. This is a problem that originated throughout the history of painting, when clouds were moving faster than the painter’s brush could capture them. and sometimes needed to be conceived rather than described.
Indeed, today’s toxic fog breeds lethal doubt and cloud shifts once more from the physical to the epistemological. When naysayers operate across the spectrum to deny the facts of climate change just as they do of chemical strikes, those inhabiting the clouds must find new ways of resistance.