Fotograf Magazine

Michal Kindernay

When Blue Skies Become Bad Weather

How was your summer? Were you hiding from the sun or the rain? Did something crucial happen to you? Where did the individual days go? Do they remain only in diaries, memories, Instagram photos? Did they disappear like the twenty-four-hour ‘stories’, becoming an abstracted whole we are slowly forgetting?

Michal Kindernay’s Heliofilia, as well as the pieces arising from it – Calendarium Caeli and, later, Sonata meteorologica di Komořany No. 1 – are, at first sight, abstract, usually blue- white-gray-black images and videos. Upon closer inspection, however, we discover that the individual photographic frames are specific time lapse records of the sky. What do they tell us about it? And what do we learn, through these visualizations, about the transformations of the weather and, by extension, the climate?

While thinking about what a “time lapse recording of the weather” could mean, I took out Time and Rhythm, a book by the philosopher Jan Sokol, to help me. The first chapter explores the etymological meaning of the word time and the language we use to describe something so abstract. Changes of weather are also a specific everyday language that forms us, a field in which every terrestrial operates naturally, discussing it and responding to it. “Every natural language is (…) a savings bank or treasury where people used to and continue to store well-proven opinions on the nature of life and the cosmos, their possible dissolution into components and the relationships between them, on what not only exists in the world but stands true, and so on.”1 If we stay a while longer with the characterization of the word time, Jan Sokol also mentions the rhythm of changes around us. “Our ‘weather’ is proof of the fact that for the life of humans in nature, the most important change was the alternation of ‘good and bad weather’.”2 Sokol also discusses something that appears in the work of Michal Kindernay and is perhaps one of the reasons why the artist decided to expose himself to the changeability of days and nights in the gallery environment: “Urban humans do not depend on natural changes to such an extent, which is why for them, time is primarily an ungraspable and continuous passing, an irretrievable and unstoppable flow.”3

Michal Kindernay decided to ‘scan’ the sky, to capture time as it flows and disappears, to back up good weather and bad weather. The dramas of the sky presented in the form of millions of photographs reach us, on Earth, with a certain anxiety and heaviness. Onto machine-recorded time, into the perhaps astronomical, perhaps ‘deep’ time of the Earth, we project our own personal memories and experiences.4 Blue skies fill us with worries for the future, and so we ask what it means to say “Will the weather be good?”.

Jan Sokol. Čas a rytmus (Time and Rhythm). Praha: Oikoymenh, 2019. p. 21. ISBN 9788072985395.

2 Ibidem. p. 23.

3 Ibidem.

4 In 2020, Michal Kindernay showed Calendarium Caeli MMXIX at Galerie Jelení, presenting recordings of the sky made throughout the year 2019. In collaboration with Sára Vybíralová, they added sound recordings to these images: voices of people talking about the most important moments of ‚their‘ year. The temporality of the year is, according to Vybíralová, “structured by personal memories”.

MICHAL KINDERNAY is an intermedia artist, performer and curator. His audiovisual installations connect the fields and tools of art, technology and science. He often touches on themes of ecology and applies technological approaches in relation to nature in order to reflect on environmental issues. His oeuvre includes video performances and interactive installations, intermedia and documentary projects and musical sound compositions.

TEREZA ŠPINKOVÁ is a theorist and curator, currently studies a PhD at the Department of Environmental Studies at the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University in Brno, where she mostly works on the relationship between human and non-human entities.

Tereza Špinková