A Thousand Words for Weather

Jessica J. Lee & Claudia Molitor

Senate House Library
NOW 22 June 2022 - 25 March 2023
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A new audio experience that probes the connection between the environment, language, sound and silence, marking a unique collaboration between Artangel and Senate House Library. 

A Thousand Words for Weather takes place across three floors of London’s most iconic library as a sonic installation born out of a collaboration between writer Jessica J. Lee and seven other London-based poets of different mother-tongues. 

Each poet chose and defined ten words for the weather in Arabic, Bengali, English, German, French, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish, Turkish, or Urdu. They then went on to translate one another's chosen weather words or phrases, contributing to a unique multilingual weather ‘dictionary’ that seeks to generate a shared language describing our collective experience of climate and the changing environment while exploring the nuance of meaning in translating and describing our multilingual realities.  

These words form a sound piece created by sound artist Claudia Molitor and integrated with a bespoke playback system designed by software architect Peter Chilvers that inputs data from the Met Office, enabling the sound to be altered depending on the weather outside.

Alongside the audio installations, a new exhibition spotlighting historical items chosen from Senate House Library’s collections will offer a glimpse into different perceptions, recordings, and observations regarding the weather over the past 500 years.

From 22 June 2022 until 25 March 2023. 

Visitors will be able to interact with a series of listening posts installed throughout the library, with all admissions taking place during term-time opening hours. You can book a day pass in advance which covers the cost of entry into the library. 


Image: Outside Senate House Library, London for A Thousand Words for Weather, 2022. Photograph: Francesco Russo

Artists

Jessica J. Lee and Claudia Molitor
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Artists

Writer Jessica J. Lee and sound artist Claudia Molitor came together to form a unique collaboration, jointly developing the considerations and works of A Thousand Words for Weather. Read on to find out more about each artist. 

Jessica J. Lee

Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author, environmental historian, and winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, the Banff Mountain Book Award, and the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award.  

She is the author of two books on nature writing titled Turning (2017) and Two Trees Make a Forest (2019), which was shortlisted for Canada Reads 2021. Lee has a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics and was writer-in-residence at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology in Berlin between 2017–2018. She is also the founding editor of The Willowherb Review and a researcher at the University of Cambridge. 

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Claudia Molitor

Claudia Molitor is a composer, artist and improviser whose work hovers between music and sound art; extending across contemporary art practices, such as video and installation art. Exploring the role listening can play in our world and embracing collaboration as compositional practice is central to much of her practice.  

Recent large scale works by the artist include Sonorama, an episodic work for a train journey, with Electra Productions, Turner Contemporary and the British Library, which received a British Composer Award in 2016; Vast White Stillness, a performance installation and collaboration with director Dan Ayling, for Spitalfields Festival and Brighton Festival; The Singing Bridge, installed at Somerset House and Waterloo Bridge during the Totally Thames festival; Walking with Partch for the Cologne based ensemble Musikfabrik at hcmf//; the headphone piece Auricularis Superior at the World Music Days in Tallinn (Estonia) in 2019; an ever-evolving work Decay in collaboration with composer, improviser Tullis Rennie around Europe and the US. 

Molitor is currently touring the audio-visual installation Listen to my World to Wilde Western (Kortrijk/Belgium), Spor (Aarhus/Denmark), hcmf// (Huddersfield/UK), Onassis Cultural Centre (Athens/Greece), Time of Music (Viitasaari/Finland) https://listentomyworld.co.uk and an album of songs Have you Ever will be released this summer on nonclassical. 

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Images (left): Inside the Goldsmiths Reading Room. Senate House Library, London for A Thousand Words for Weather, 2022. Photograph: Francesco Russo. Images (top to bottom): Jessica J. Lee, photograph by Ricardo A. Rivas. Claudia Molitor, courtesy of the artist. 

Poets

Izdihar Alodhami, Leo Boix, Iris Colomb, Marta Dziurosz, Nikhat Hoque, Nina Mingya Powles, Ayça Türkoğlu
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About the Poets

7 London-based poets of different mother-tongues contributed to the creation of A Thousand Words for Weather. Each chose and defined ten words for the weather in Arabic, Bengali, English, German, French, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish, Turkish, and Urdu and later translated one another's words to create a multilingual ‘dictionary’ of a thousand words.  

Listed in alphabetical order below, the contributing poets include Izdihar Alodhami, Leo Boix, Iris Colomb, Marta Dziurosz, Nikhat Hoque, Nina Mingya Powles, Ayça Türkoğlu.

Izdihar Alodhami

Izdihar Alodhami is an active Translator, Interpreter, ESL and Arabic language teacher working in London. Following obtaining their degree in Linguistics and Translation, they've worked as a translator since 2012.  

Leo Boix

Leo Boix is a bilingual Latinx poet, born in Argentina and lives and works in the UK. His debut English collection Ballad of a Happy Immigrant (Chatto & Windus, 2021) was awarded the PBS Wild Card Choice and was selected as one of the best five books of poetry by The Guardian (August 2021). He has authored another two books in Spanish titled Un Lugar Propio (2015) and Mar de Noche (2017), both with Letras del Sur Editora, Argentina. Boix has also been included in many anthologies, including Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe), Islands Are But Mountains: Contemporary Poetry from Great Britain(Platypus Press), and 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren Books), among others. 

His poems have appeared in many national and international journals, including POETRY, PN Review, The Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, The White Review, and many more. Boix takes on multiple roles, including acting as a fellow of The Complete Works program, co-director of Un Nuevo Sol, an Arts Council national scheme to nurture new voices of Latinx writers in the UK, and an advisory board member of the Poetry Translation Centre. 

Boix has written poems commissioned by Royal Kew Gardens, the National Poetry Library, Bradford Literary Festival, Un Nuevo Sol and La Linea Festival, among others; and has been the recipient of the Bart Wolffe Poetry Prize Award 2018 and the Keats-Shelley Prize 2019, as well as being awarded The Charles Causley International Poetry Competition 2021 (2nd prize).

Iris Colomb 

Iris Colomb is a curator, editor, translator and interdisciplinary text artist working across poetry, visual art, performance, and sound art. Her practice explores various relationships between visual and verbal forms of text through projects involving book objects, improvisation, and experimental translation. She has published three poetry pamphlets: I’m Shocked (Bad Betty Press, 2018), just promise you won’t write (Gang Press, 2019), and Flakes of Fickle Quicklime (Earthbound Press, 2020). Her poems have also appeared in a number of UK magazines and anthologies, as well as Russian, Austrian, Spanish, German, Brazilian and US publications. 

Iris has given individual, collaborative, interactive, and durational performances online as well as in the UK, Germany, Austria, Romania and France, at the Bucharest International Poetry Festival, Brașov’s European Poetry Biennale, the international transmedial poetic festival räume für notizen (“room for notes”, Vienna), and the Southbank Centre’s Poetry International Festival, among others.  Her visual works have been showcased in collective exhibitions in the UK, Austria, France, and Ukraine. Her artist books have been included in the National Poetry Library’s collection and Chelsea College of Art’s Special Collection.

Iris is the founder of the investigative poetry and performance platform SLANT, the Co-Editor of HVTN Press, a founding member of the interdisciplinary collective No Such Thing, half of the performance duo Soft Play, and half of the text and sound project [something’s happening]. 

Marta Dziurosz

Marta Dziurosz lives in the UK and translates across Polish and English. She was Free Word Centre's last Translator in Residence (2015-2016) and now combines translation with negotiating publishing contracts for Pan Macmillan, interpreting and chairing literary events, and writing.

Dziurosz is a member of the Translators Association, after three years on the Association’s committee. Her PEN Translates-awarded translation of Marcin Wicha’s Things I Didn’t Throw Out is out now from Daunt Books. Previous publications from the writer include co translations of the New York Times bestseller, Renia Spiegel's Renia's Diary: A Young Girl's Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust, and of Janusz Korczak’s How to Love a Child and Other Selected Works, in addition to numerous translations published online. Her literary criticism and writings on translation have been published by Asymptote, The Glasgow Review of Books, The Linguist, In Other Words, and elsewhere. She is interested in scent writing and, in 2019, was a finalist in The Fragrance Foundation’s Jasmine Awards. She has also delivered workshops on translating scent for The British Library and The National Centre for Writing.

 

Nikhat Hoque

Nikhat Hoque is a researcher, writer, and curious creative. She is interested in exploring the South Asian context, with a focus on the region of Bengal. As a graduate of Comparative Literature from SOAS, University of London, she is also the founder of an upcoming magazine titled Sufi Soup which will be hosting a Sufi poetry performance at the Southbank center in early June. The project aims to engage with Sufism in the world today through history, art, and personal insight via dialogic conversation.  

She is currently working at the British Bilingual Poetry Collective (BBPC), a poetry group focused on language, heritage, and wellbeing where she has collaborated with the likes of All Points East, RichMix, Pinter Studio (QMUL), and Season of Bangla Drama. As a freelance writer, she has written for platforms such as Feminism in India, Critical Muslim, and Bad Form among others. Her writing reflects her research interests including gender, South Asian history, postcolonial studies, and cultural theory. Her article ‘Mahasweta Devi’s ‘Draupadi’ As A Symbol Of Subaltern Defiance’ analyses a well-known Bengali text from an intersectional perspective. 

Nina Mingya Powles

Nina Mingya Powles is a writer and zine maker from Aotearoa New Zealand. She holds an MA in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Victoria University of Wellington and currently lives in London.

In 2018, Powles was one of three winners of the Women Poets' Prize, and in 2019 won the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing and the Landfall Essay Competition. She is also the founding editor of Bitter Melon苦瓜, a very small press that publishes limited-edition pamphlets by Asian poets. 

Ayça Türkoğlu

Ayça Türkoğlu is a literary translator, writer, and all-round nature fan. She translates from German and Turkish, focussing on literary fiction and natural history. Her most recent translations include Selim Özdoğan's Anatolian Blues Trilogy (co-translated with Katy Derbyshire) and Susanne Wedlich's Slime: A Natural History, awarded Radio 4 Book of the Week. Türkoğlu will also be a judge for the 2022 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for Translations from German.


Image: Inside Senate House Library, London for A Thousand Words for Weather, 2022. Photograph: Francesco Russo

Survey

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Survey

At Artangel, we are always keen to find out what our audiences think of the work we commission, artists we work with and events, exhibitions or experiences we put on. The insight gathered through our surveys allows us to learn how we can adapt the format or subject matter of future projects – ensuring our continued relevancy and enjoyment for the communities we serve. Your honest feedback is invaluable to us as an organisation.

This short survey is about your A Thousand Words for Weather experience. It should only take you 5 minutes to complete.

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Image: Staircase of Senate House Library, London for A Thousand Words for Weather, 2022. Photograph: Francesco Russo

Credits

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Who made this possible?

Credits

Commissioned and produced by Artangel.

Presented in partnership with Senate House Library, University of London. 

Talks and events programme presented in collaboration with Jessica J. Lee and the School of Advanced Studies (SAS).

Artangel is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of Artangel International CircleSpecial AngelsGuardian Angels and The Company of Angels.

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