The initial idea for The Weather Bureau emerged from an interest in ruins and the Theory of Ruin Value by Albert Speer, Hitler’s favorite architect, and how that theory greatly influenced Hitler’s vision of monumentality. By picturing disasters / weather conditions in their active state, The Weather Bureau attempted to envision the process of monumentality ravishing a landscape or city. In recreating them, in whatever means they chose to simulate these various weather conditions, they revealed the logic of control over the uncontrollable, striving for perfection via shortcuts and cheats, and in the calculated accidents produced by the materials they use.
In such inordinate ordering therein lies an inherent fascism, a very ordered interior, in the very ordered picture the frame dictates it; it seizes and serves only what is within its limits. The next frame is not a continuum of the previous picture. But past and future can co-exist in this suspended denouement of the moment, for the present is a passing and a foreboding, an eternity in stasis, potential imagined for its potentiality, Diderot walking between two eternities, two constants – time enduring and world remaining.
The Weather Bureau seeks to pictorialize all such exigencies wrought by the incongruence of order and the limitless, and the inevitable ruination incurred in such a process.
The Weather Bureau is one in the era of possibility in the empire of fictions.
The Weather Bureau is composed of Lena Cobangbang and Mike Crisostomo who prior to this project has been working together doing production design and prop styling gigs.
The process by which they make the dioramas for their photos incorporate cookery and some photoshop. It is a natural recourse for them: both have a background in production design work, while Crisostomo had some formal cookery training and Cobangbang had been doing rudimentary food styling or food props prepping for some films and TVCs. They have mostly stuck to the basics such as eggs, flour, and gelatin in producing or recreating some of the effects they want to achieve in simulating certain weather conditions. Beaten eggs for foam, gelatin for a wave, flour for pavement, shaved ice for snow.
These photos were outtakes from their series Experiments in Degree Zero.
Anchor photo: Experiments in Degree Zero (Outtake A). 2011-2020. Pigment ink on 300 gsm matte archival paper (100% cotton). Edition of 10.