We are Sophie and Sasha. Together we lead open-weather, a research, design and community-centred project that probes the noisy relationships between bodies, atmospheres and weather systems through experiments in amateur radio, open data and feminist tactics of sensing and séance.
Open-weather encompasses a series of how-to guides, critical frameworks and public workshops on the reception of satellite images using free or inexpensive amateur radio technologies. When possible, we work with open-source software and hardware. We focus on access to technology and we strive for equity. In a feminist mode, we ask: who or what gains power from satellite imagery, radio technology and meteorological data?
The project was greatly informed by the first months of lockdown, during which we both set up satellite ground stations on our balconies in Northwest and Southeast London, respectively, and produced a performance called Open Work, Second Body that was livestreamed during the global sounds arts festival Reveil 2020.
On the occasion of the OurNetworks festival in summertime, we activated the growing open-weather network for the first time by inviting collaborators from all over the world to decode satellite passes on Sunday, 6th September 2020, and to submit their materials to the open-weather archive. Out of these materials we built a composite image of the Earth and its weather systems. We think the resulting ‘open-weather nowcast’, featured on our website, counters the smooth, seamless globe that is Google Earth. It is co-created by observers who are weathering – experiencing – the very conditions that they are recording.
Thank you for inviting us to this listserve. We are looking forward to any discussions and questions that may follow.
Sasha and Sophie