with Nathalie Miebach
In the Shadow of Giants (2013).
32”x32”x25”. Reed, wood, rope,
paper, data. Image courtesy of
The Blizzard of 78 has remained a measurement pole
against which all Nor’easter
storms are compared. Every time a bad one hits New
England, the memories of the
Blizzard of 78 are awoken.
The Blizzard of 2013 shared
some eerie similarities with the
Blizzard of 78 – similar wind
strengths, high waves, and a development of an eye in the center
of the storm. The piece translates
wind, temperature, and snow
data from both storms.
Nathalie Miebach works with scientfic observations in astronomy, ecology, and meteorology, translating data into woven sculptural forms based on her own meticulous system. Recently, Miebach has
begun to translate data into musical scores, delving deeper into the complexity of these sciences.
SAiA: When did you start visualizing science
through art, and what sparked your interdisciplinary practice?
NM: I began working with scientific data in
2000, when I attended astronomy classes at
Harvard University and studied basket weaving
with a local craft artist. Astronomy was fascinating, but frustrating. I never seemed to be
able to get a real sense of the time and space
dimension we talked about in class, because
everything we ever looked at was on the two-dimensional plane of the projector wall. At some
point, the light bulb in my head went off and I
realized that I could actually use basket weaving
as a three-dimensional grid through which to
translate astronomical data to get a more tactile, physical sense of what I was learning about
in astronomy. For my “final paper,” I turned in
a sculptural translation of the HurtzsprungRussell diagram, which tracks the evolutionary
stage of stars based on two values: their absolute magnitude versus surface temperature.
I had a very open-minded teacher, Professor
Chaisson, who was delighted and promptly
invited me to show the work at a conference for
SciArt in America December 2013