The Breath Eaters 2.0 (diptych)


Custom software (color, silent)

In collaboration with James Schmitz

Commissioned by Visions 2030: Earth Edition for CalArts, 2023

This version of The Breath Eaters (diptych) offers two varying views of the Earth using data. The work addresses human impact on earth systems, fire management practices, and the planetary poetics of wind. The left-hand monitor displays the current state of carbon particulate (PM2.5) pollutants from wildfires and fossil fuel & biomass power plants. It uses real-time data from NASA and NOAA (GFS—Global Forecast System for atmospheric wind data) to visualize the ways in which emissions are spread globally through the atmosphere. 

The screen on the right presents a counter perspective—a speculative world engaged in mitigating climate chaos. This screen uses NOAA’s GFS wind data, as well as NASA’s Vegetation Index (NDVI), which gives us the global location and density of vegetation over the course of the year. The Vegetation data was used to sample possible locations for fires in the artists’ speculative scenario. Drawing from fire management research, the fires’ size and intensity diminished through traditional techniques like controlled burns, aimed at renewal and regeneration. 

Thanks to USFS Research, including scientists at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. Special thanks to Karen C. Short, Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service for research guidance.