The Art of Science: Nathalie Miebach’s Woven Weather

Nathalie Miebach, Changing Waters, 2011

Nathalie Miebach, Changing Waters, 2011

I’ve featured several artists here who incorporate weather data in their work, but nobody who does it with quite the mix of over-the-top exuberance and scientific rigor as Nathalie Miebach.  As Miebach explains, “My work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations. I translate scientific data related to astronomy, ecology and meteorology into woven sculptures.”

Yes, woven – the material basis of her art is basketweaving, a highly traditional form not usually used in data visualization.

Miebach hopes that her artwork expands the visual vocabulary of scientific data, moving far beyond charts and graphs.  She says that science teachers were among the first to embrace her work.

“On one side, my work is very didactic, almost like a graph that tells exactly the relationship between variables, a very scientific representation. On the other, it’s a fanciful, magical, crazy expression of weather that still uses data as a source of material, but has crossed a boundary.” (source)

The piece shown above, part of a show called “Changing Waters” looks at the meteorological and oceanic interactions within the Gulf of Maine. Using data from NOAA and GOMOSS buoys within the Gulf of Maine, as well as weather stations along the coast, it explores the seasonal variations of marine life through a colorful swirl of carefully plotted pieces of weaving.

Some of Miebach’s more recent work has incorporated whirling structures that evoke the fairground rides destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, and her latest pieces are accompanied by original music, which is also based on weather and climate data.

You can see more of Nathalie Miebach’s artwork in a number of current and upcoming shows as well as at her website.

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