The Work of Wind: Land
In 1806, the British sea admiral Sir Francis Beaufort invented the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force as an index of thirteen levels measuring the effects of wind force. It was first used for the practical navigation of nineteenth- century ocean space; through a system of observation, wind speed was measured by observing how it composes at sea (for example, waves are formed) and decomposes on land (for example, leaves are blown from trees, chimney pots lifted, houses are destroyed).
Across a variegated set of curatorial and editorial instantiations developed by Christine Shaw (Director/Curator of the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga) in 2018/19, the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force becomes a diagram of prediction and premonition in the context of accelerating planetary extinction. The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea appropriates the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force as a readymade index for curating a site-specific exhibition in the Southdown industrial area of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and a publication divided into three conjoining volumes published by K. Verlag. The project is extended by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a public program and broadsheet series.
The first book, entitled The Work of Wind: Land, and the second book, The Work of Wind: Sea, each contain a reflective essay on the Beaufort Scale, an intermezzo off the scale, and thirteen responses to the Scale’s thirteen distinct forces. Continuing K.’s curatorial approach to publishing, both publications invite the “reader-as-exhibition-viewer” to navigate a broad multidisciplinary field of inquiry and experimentation, sensing a rise of intensity in form and content as the pages turn from 0 (Calm) to 12 (Hurricane). The final book, The Work of Wind: Air, will bring together an analysis of the material flows of Mississauga’s Southdown Industrial Area and the artist projects that circulated through it during the site-specific exhibition The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea taking place from 14 to 23 September 2018 in Mississauga.
While the title of the project series might suggest a weather project, it is not about wind but of wind, of the forces of composition and decomposition predicated on the complex entanglements of ecologies of excess, environmental legacies of colonialism, the financialization of nature, contemporary catastrophism, politics of sustainability, climate justice, and resilience.