Design a site like this with
Get started

Cyclone Leaves

cyclone leaves

Online Performance with Artist Janine Randerson

Cyclone Leaves

Interventions into Virtual Spaces:
an online performance

(duration 5 min)

LASER Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand and
LASER New Brunswick, New Jersey, US

LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) is Leonardo/ISAST‘s international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking. Official LASER Talks Website | LASERTalks Facebook | LASERTalks Twitter/Periscope |LASERTalks Instagram


In early April 2020, severe tropical Cyclone Harold left a trail of destruction; in the Solomon islands many perished at sea; serious damage and flooding of crops in Vanuatu’s Luganville; havoc in Fiji’s West coast of Viti Levu; and flooding in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Many of the islands in Te Moana Nui A Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) are struggling to ward off Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Suva, where the pandemic would wreak devastating effects. In Aotearoa New Zealand we felt the traces of the winds of this most intense tropical cyclone to date in lower latitudes as the wind tore leaves from our trees. In the United States and other parts of the globe the impacts of climate change in an increasingly severe Atlantic hurricane season are tragically amplified when combined with the pandemic. In our social and meteorological environment, we are all linked to increasing extreme weather events.

This online performance-event is a call to attune to our current lockdown ‘pause’ on fuel and resource consumption. Through slowing, reflecting and acting we can ultimately mitigate the anthropogenic effects on the global weather system, and the climatic timescale. Artists, scientists and citizen activists provide a vital collective role in a reorientation of relations with our shared atmosphere.

Participating in Cyclone Leaves

At the beginning, I will call on a few people by name to describe your location and local weather condition (internal or external!) in a word or two. Please also add your weather condition to the chat window as I won’t have time to call on everyone. After this, please mute your Zoom microphone. For the next part relax, listen and enact some minor gestures if you choose. The notes below show how to upload an image of your local weather. Before the event please collect a leaf from your garden, street, or park to have near you. 

How to add a photo of your local weather to your Zoom background:

1. In the Zoom app, click your profile in the top right corner, and click Settings

2. On the menu to the left, click Virtual Background

3. You’ll see a few default background options provided by Zoom, including an outer space scene or blades of grass. 

4. I invite you to upload a photo of your local weather to use as your background on the same Virtual Background Page.

— click the tiny + icon next to where it says Choose Virtual Background. A box will pop up allowing you to upload a photo from your computer. Click on the one you want, and it will appear alongside the other pictures as an option for you to choose from.

(If you have the Zoom Pro app you can find the ‘Choose Virtual Background’ setting by clicking on this symbol (located next to the video camera icon). Click on itand you will also find the tiny + icon next to the stock photos, then you can upload your own weather image.)

Note: About half way through the event if you like you can switch off the Virtual background by selecting ‘none’ in the settings. This is in order for your computer camera to register an extreme close-up of your leaf.

Janine Randerson is an Aotearoa/New Zealand-based artist and writer concerned with technological mediation and ecological systems. Her moving and performative works are exhibited in the Asia-Pacific region and internationally. She has collaborated with scientists from NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) in New Zealand, BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) in Melbourne and with environmental research scientists in Denmark. She is a LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) talk host. Janine’s recent book Weather as Media: Towards a Meteorological Art (MIT Press, 2018) examines artworks that offer possible engagement with our future weathers, while creating openings for immediate action in the present. She is an Associate Professor in Art and Design at AUT University in Auckland.

%d bloggers like this: