KLAUS SCHAFLER – Climate Manipulation Station
Poster by Igor Hofbauer
Using the year 2050 as a hypothetical landmark Klaus extrapolates backwards, examining the living conditions, social spaces and related architectures that make up our present-day civilization. For Schafler, the year 2050 is a time suspended between fact and fiction, a borderland between a projected, imagined reality and a future that is already taking shape.
In Climate Manipulation Station, Klaus focuses on geo-engineering and the large scale technologies that attempt to mitigate and even reverse our civilizations’ impact on the climate and environment. Here, he assumes the role of anthropologist, technologist and interlocutor, not to put forward a specific ideology but with the aim to open a field of study and draw correlations between artists and scientists, how they test ideas, visualize abstract data and use their findings to intervene into public space.
In this exhibit, the video Hacking Kumland documents one such intervention in the Styrian town of Pischelsdorf, where Klaus worked with the townspeople to paint the central square white. A tactical approach to local climate change mediation, painting a large area of land white causes solar radiation to reflect off the surface, thereby lowering the temperature on the ground. In this intervention it is not solely the change to local climate that is the remarkable outcome, it is also the transformation of an area normally governed by auto traffic into a social space as the people of Pischelsdorf occupy the newly
repurposed town center.
In the project Chisinau 2050 – Weather Manipulation Station, Klaus launched a media campaign
promoting the fictitious construction of a weather control laboratory in Chisinau, Moldova. A truck mounted with a billboard and speaker system drove through the city announcing the coming construction as a press conference complete with promotional rain jackets was held in front of the building. What precipitates is an outpouring of anxiety at the imagined manifestation of a vaguely understood technology.
In the most recent chapter of Weather Manipulation Station, Schafler documents the work of Klaus Lackner a scientist at Columbia University who has developed a synthetic ‘tree’. This incredible device is potentially thousands of times more efficient than the real thing at removing carbon from the atmosphere. Schafler engages Lackner’s serious research via an installation that peers into both the futurizable effects of this invention and the methods and motivations behind its development.