Meteorology by Cinematic Means: Aesthetics and Epistemology of Weather Images


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Comparative Literature & Film and Media Studies


In the wake of the current climate crisis, scholars in film and media studies have started addressing human beings’ relationship to the atmosphere from an eco-critical perspective, but the scope of such scholarship is largely restricted to weather’s fictional representation. Since the nineteenth century, modern experience of the atmosphere has been mediated by numerous scientific images, including weather maps, satellite visuals, and time-lapse cloud films. Focusing on the use of moving image technologies by Japanese meteorologists Abe Masanao, Nakaya Ukichirō, and their European colleagues, this project argues that scientific visualization of weather is a complex act of construction rather than passive documentation. Analyzing meteorological filmmaking not only allows us to imagine a genealogy of cinema from the perspective of weather sciences, but also helps us appreciate these scientists’ extraordinary sensibilities to the atmosphere at different historical moments. Such awareness and responsiveness prove increasingly meaningful in this time of environmental transformation.