Yeon Sung
Sponsor: V2_Lab, Host: V2_Lab

Weathering Ports is an artistic research project that investigates the pollution of the Maasvlakte, an artificial industrial zone within the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port. Drawing from the conceptual methodology of Weathering (Neimanis and Hamilton, 2018), the project explores the polluted weather of Maasvlakte as an embodied phenomenon and develops artistic practices and tactics that intersect the human body with the port’s weather, environment, ecology, and pollution as material.

During the summer session of 2023, Sung created an apparatus named the ‘Weathering Station’, mounted onto a bicycle, offering a critical perspective the conversion of a pollution-exposed site into a cyclists’ hotspot. She engaged in a four-hour cycling performance through Maasvlakte, wherein the human body metamorphoses into a bio-archive of polluting weather.

Through performance as a process of bodily experience and embodiment of the Maasvlakte’s pollution phenomena, the artist directly engages in a process of “being-becoming.” Here, the human body assimilates into the fabric of nature and meteorology. An amalgam of wind direction, wind speed, toxic gas levels, and human metrics influenced by the weather—such as body temperature and heartbeat—converges into a real-time auditory symphony emanating from resonant horn speakers. ‘Weathering Ports’ aims to transcend the dichotomy of nature-culture and human-environment oppositions by becoming weather-bodies, embodying the role of artists who sense, perform, and act upon polluted weather.

The concept of ‘Weathering’ was proposed by Australian feminist environmental humanities researchers Astrida Neimanis and Rachel Loewen Walker. Weather is more than just a meteorological phenomenon; it encompasses socio-political and cultural impacts on the body. Neimanis and Walker extend Stacey Alaimo’s idea of transcorporeality by incorporating temporality to conceptualize the importance of an embodied understanding of the transformative phenomenon of climate change.

This project was developed during a residency as part of a Summer Sessions residency at V2_.