Observatory of Precipitation

Feifei Zhou

NOW 05 June 2023 - 01 June 2024
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Observatory of Precipitation

Nine illustrated memories; triggered by words for weather
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Precipitation is a word that seeks to convey a multitude of meteorological and phenomenological processes: weather that is felt and seen falling from the sky. Observatory of Precipitation is a collection of illustrated weathers brought to life by artist Fefei Zhou; translations of memories belonging to a group of London poets, each inspired by words in one of their nine different languages.

How does weather influence experience and give shape to memory? When we talk about the weather, how can we be sure that others understand exactly what we mean? Can weather and everything we associate with it be captured in words or images?

Visit observatoryofprecipitation.com to discover the work. We recommend using mobile for the best user experience.

About Feifei Zhou

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Feifei Zhou

Feifei Zhou is a Chinese-born spatial and visual designer. She is a co-editor of the digital publication Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene (Stanford University Press, 2021). Her work explores spatial, cultural, and ecological impacts of the industrialised built and natural environment. Using narrative-based spatial analysis, she collaborates intensively with social scientists to translate empirical observations and scientific research into visual representations that aim to both clarify intricate more-than-human relations and open new questions. She has taught architecture at Columbia GSAPP, Cornell AAP and Central Saint Martins.


Image: (left) Feifei Zhou speaking at Prada Frames: On Forest - A Symposium curated by Formafantasma, 2022; (above) portrait of Feifei Zhou, photography by Jos Diaz Contreras.

Pathetic Fallacies

A Conversation About Weather, Language and Memory With Feifei Zhou, Jessica J Lee and Alder Keleman
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To mark the launch of the Observatory of Precipitation – a collection of illustrated memories of weather – this conversation brings together the artist Feifei Zhou with poet and environmental historian Jessica J Lee, and anthropologist Alder Keleman, to discuss how our memories are shaped by the weather, and how our understanding of weather is structured by language and culture. Is the weather a social or personal experience? Can it be communicated and translated through words and images? And, in light of climate change, how might our own memories diverge from the weather we come to expect?

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. 

Alder Keleman Saxena

Alder Keleman Saxena is Assistant Professor of Environmental Anthropology and Sustainable Food Systems at Northern Arizona University. An environmental anthropologist, her research has examined the relationships linking agricultural biodiversity to human food cultures in Mexico and Bolivia, drawing connections between locally specific ethnobotanical and biocultural practices and larger political-economic contexts. Her more recent research and writing explores the social and material implications of digital connectivity for geographically remote spaces. Alder is a co-editor of Feral Atlas: the More-Than-Human Anthropocene.


A Thousand Words for Weather

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Observatory of Precipitation was inspired by A Thousand Words for Weather, a multilingual dictionary of weather words conceived by Jessica J Lee and created in collaboration with eight other poets (all of whom contributed interviews that feature in The Observatory of Precipitation). A Thousand Words for Weather was reimagined by artist Claudia Molitor as a sonic installation at Senate House Library between June 2022 and March 2023. Find out more about the dictionary and installation:

World Weather Network

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The World Weather Network is a global alliance of 28 arts agencies around the world, formed in response to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss; a network of artists and writers reporting on their weather and our climate. Find out more:

Production credits

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The Observatory of Precipitation is a collection of nine animated illustrations by Feifei Zhou, commissioned by Artangel for the World Weather Network.

Artistic Direction & Animation: Feifei Zhou
Web Development: The Workers
Sound Design: House of Noise

Produced by Artangel

The Poets: 
Jessica J Lee
Leo Boix
Marta Dziurosz
Nikhat Hoque
Ayça Türko─člu
Nina Mingya Powles
Iris Colomb


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Who made this possible?

Commissioned and produced by Artangel.

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

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