Deep Weather is a video essay by Swiss artist Ursula Biemann whose artistic practice often investigates climate change and ecologies of oil, ice and water. The work draws a connection between a massive oil extraction operation in northern Canada and the impact on indigenous populations locally and in other parts of the world.
The video begins by documenting a huge industrial extraction zone, large enough to be seen from space, in Alberta’s oil sands region. Aerial footage reveals a landscape devasted by aggressive mining, containing a toxic slurry of heavy metals. It is one of the world's largest industrial projects, destructive to the environment and communities in the region.
The second part of the film takes place thousands of miles away in Bangladesh. It documents the effort of local communities to build protective embankments to prevent flooding. Thousands of people work together, without any mechanical help to protect themselves from rising water levels. This is what climate change may mean for people living in delta regions.
Visitors to the Art Gallery will be able to see how Deep Weather makes a connection between seemingly unrelated events and locations, underlining the fact that people’s actions have a direct impact on complex systems of our planet.
This is timely exhibition for Wolverhampton as a climate emergency was declared by the City of Wolverhampton Council last month. The council, in partnership with the Youth Council, has been exploring issues related to climate change, how it will affect their generation and ways to make Wolverhampton greener.
Councillor Harman Banger, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Climate change is a real issue that we as individuals and a council have to look at.
“The council is looking at how we can be greener in the city as well as in schools and homes, which in turn will benefit the world and minimise some of the issues that are highlighted in Deep Weather.”
The exhibition is free and will be on at Wolverhampton Art Gallery until 29 September. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am until 4.30pm and Sunday from 11am until 4pm. For more details, please visit Wolverhampton Arts & Culture.