Today’s episode is special to me for two reasons: first, because it focuses on sound art, and second, because it features a conversation with one of my favorite people, Micaiah Johnson. As I planned this episode, I was thinking about a lot of intersecting factors: data science, science fiction, rain and drought. Episode 9 of Art of Interference ties these together by pairing Johnson, an award-winning science fiction novelist, with sound artist Jamie Perera, whose Anthropocene in C Major and Sonification tackle interconnected issues of climate, death, and grief. Jamie’s work asks us to consider the way we carry grief with us through our everyday lives: how we hold the tragedies of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic within our bodies as we go about our days. Or perhaps “consider” is the wrong word — rather than asking us to think deeply, Jamie’s work prompts us, first and foremost, to feel. It transforms data into an emotional experience.
As a weather event, rain can be contemplative, even meditative. It can evoke cherished, cozy memories even as it might also excite fear and anxiety — about flash floods, downed trees and power lines, overwhelmed stormwater management systems. This episode attempts to reckon with the strange simultaneity of those emotions, with the comfort and the chaos of rain in the age of the anthropocene. I hope you enjoy it.