Anna Huff, IS, ’18
Catherine Khamnouane, IS , ’18
Emma Hill, IS , ’19
Sebastian Ruiz, IS , ’18
Sandy Li, IS , ’19
Durba Samanta, GD MFA, ’18
Petrifest is a speculative project that investigates a future affected by climate change, focusing on the fictional country of Indra, which annually celebrates a biologically fabricated rain festival. Our group was interested in researching what this type of future could look like; as in what adaptations our society could make to deal with issues such as climate change refugees, water scarcity, and food shortages.
Concurrently, we researched the practice of ‘cloud seeding’, where chemical or biological particles are dispersed by planes into clouds to produce rain. Pseudomonas syringae is an ice nucleation bacteria, meaning it essentially freezes anything it comes into contact with. When used in cloud seeding, the bacteria freeze and cluster the water particles so that they’re heavy enough to drop.
From this information we drew up plans for a cloud making factory which would be activated once a year in the country of Indra. First used only as a necessity for water shortages, we conceptualized that the direness of the situation would ease over time, making this necessity more of a cultural tradition. Petrifest challenges viewers to imagine what new rituals could arise from a future threatened by environmental crisis, and how that could possibly affect our attitude towards this inevitable, daunting change.
For the final presentations of the 2018 Grow the Future course, the group subverted the typical presentation format and communicated the Petrifest project through narrative that was told via a more theatrical staged reading, which was supported by images and incorporated a slide presentation by one of the characters.