The University of Winnipeg



New gallery exhibit combines art, citizen science

contemporary art installation in gallery features backlit banners, video, and podium with candles.

FORECAST is at Gallery 1C03 until April 12.

On a cold day you might see exhaust billowing from the tail pipes of cars on the road. On a hot day you might see a blanket of wildfire smoke covering the bright summer sun. But most days, we don’t see or think about the air around us.

The latest exhibit at The University of Winnipeg’s Gallery 1C03 hopes to challenge that, encouraging us to experience the air we consume from both a physical and an analytical perspective.

I kind of think of us as taking on the role of citizen scientists through this work.

Christina Battle

“We live in a world where we’re not necessarily concerned with what the ozone level reading is today,” said artist Christina Battle. “But being able to sense it physically is something that impacts us. I really see my artistic practice as, I hope, a bridge between the two.”

Battle is a media artist based in Treaty 6 (Edmonton), and her interactive exhibition, FORECAST, is at Gallery 1C03 until April 12.

“FORECAST is this project that is sort of an umbrella for a large number of works, research, and thinking that I’m working on,” Battle said.

Two works under the FORECAST umbrella are being shown at the gallery.

the air we breathe features text, handmade candles, and an experimental documentary that asks viewers to explore their relationship with air through the senses. Learning the Signals/Change is Coming is a participatory project that invites participants to document their experience that day, and to include data from Manitoba’s air quality monitoring stations.

“I kind of think of us as taking on the role of citizen scientists through this work a little bit,” Battle said. “Part of that is just to draw attention to climate change that we’re all engaging with, and part of it is to actually do this scientific work of monitoring and paying attention.”

Battle said much of her work is invested in getting people thinking about climate change and imagining ways out of the gloomy future we might picture.

“Part of the reason I’m an artist tackling these subjects is not to stew in the doom of it,” she said, “but actually to try to think about how we might work together to reframe the way that we’re experiencing these things. And I think paying more attention to the senses and paying more attention to how things feel is a strategy for doing that.”


Community and collaboration

In addition to the two FORECAST projects on display at Gallery 1C03, Battle is also working with a UWinnipeg Women’s and Gender Studies course on a longer participatory project. This project will help provide a snapshot of air quality data for downtown Winnipeg, and will also encourage students to explore connections between science, language, and community-building.

Also part of the exhibit is an essay response by UWinnipeg alum, Mariana Muñoz Gomez. Their essay provides a tangible exploration of the symptoms of climate change with an emphasis on the effects of environmental racism.

“As Battle notes in the air we breathe, part of what urgently needs to be addressed is ‘invisible’ environmental damage,” writes Muñoz Gomez. “However, crises like those at Flint and Shoal Lake 40 show that visible damage and emergencies…may still be neglected and mismanaged.”

An artist talk with Christina Battle will take place on March 8, as well as an affiliated artist talk with artist Amy Mazowita, on April 2. Register for both talks on the Gallery 1C03 web page.


Gallery 1C03 is the campus art gallery of The University of Winnipeg. The Gallery opened in September 1986. The Gallery’s mission is to engage diverse communities through the development and presentation of contemporary and historical art exhibitions and related programming initiatives.

The Gallery is also responsible for the development, preservation, and presentation of the University’s art collection. Since its inception, Gallery 1C03 has hosted more than 160 exhibitions and welcomed more than 170,000 visitors.

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