The Work of Wind: Land

Co-edited by Christine Shaw & Etienne Turpin


336 pages
19 x 24.75cm
Colour images
Hardcover, thread-bound
ISBN 978-3-9818635-8-1

Published by
Co-published by K. Verlag and the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga


$42.00 (+tax)

Read the Introduction, by Etienne Turpin

Read Cold Wintry Wind, by Allen S. Weiss

Read The Theory of the Fire Ants, by Juliana Spahr


In 1806, the British sea admiral Sir Francis Beaufort invented the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force as an index of thirteen levels measuring the effects of wind force. It was first used for the practical navigation of nineteenth-century ocean space; through a system of observation, wind speed was measured by observing how it composes at sea (for example, waves are formed) and decomposes on land (for example, leaves are blown from trees, chimney pots lifted, houses are destroyed).

Across a variegated set of curatorial and editorial instantiations developed by Christine Shaw in 2018/19, the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force becomes a diagram of prediction and premonition in the context of accelerating planetary extinction. The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea appropriates the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force as a readymade index for curating a site-specific exhibition in the Southdown industrial area of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and a publication divided into three conjoining volumes published by K. Verlag. The project is extended by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a public program and broadsheet series.

While the title of the project series might suggest a weather project, it is not about wind but of wind, of the forces of composition and decomposition predicated on the complex entanglements of ecologies of excess, environmental legacies of colonialism, the financialization of nature, contemporary catastrophism, politics of sustainability, climate justice, and resilience.


In this introduction, by relaying ongoing conversations with my co-editor, Christine, I have tried to situate the Beaufort Scale historically, as a document of civilization and its barbarisms, but also as a means to dislocate its poetic attunement from its colonial provenance. Reading the descriptions as potential modulators of both breath and attention, as editors we believe that while the Scale was developed in order to constrain and focus environmental observation in the service of Empire, it can also be read with a view to other practices of world-making with common futures. The book’s epistemic disobedience is thus a way to encourage and sustain diversities in the face of the ongoing and homogenizing coloniality of global capitalism. In this sense, we are in agreement with The Invisible Committee when they write: “Here it is not a question of a new social contract, but of a new strategic composition of worlds.”[88] As one small composition among many worlds of struggle and many ways of world-making, we hope to have shared through this book-as-exhibition the work of wind and some premonitions of the winds to come.

-Etienne Turpin, excerpt from “The Beaufort Scale of Wind Force: This Land of Forces”

[88] The Invisible Committee, Now, trans. Robert Hurley (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2017), 89.

Read the full introduction by Etienne Turpin.


The Work of Wind: Land features contributions by d’bi.young anitafrika, Amy Balkin, Jesse Birch, D.T. Cochrane, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Anna Feigenbaum, Macarena Gómez-Barris, Ilana Halperin, Tom Keefer, Barbara Marcel, Mimi Onuoha, Pejvak (Rouzbeh Akhbari & Felix Kalmenson), Tomás Saraceno, Christine Shaw, Juliana Spahr, Adrienne Telford, Etienne Turpin, Allen S. Weiss, Tania Willard, and Eva Wilson.

Table of Contents

The Beaufort Scale of Wind Force: This Land of Forces   9
Etienne Turpin

Cold Wintry Wind   27
Allen S. Weiss

After the Storm   43
Amy Balkin

0 CALM: The Rock Cycle   59
Ilana Halperin

1 LIGHT AIR: Not Everything Can Be Contained   69
Mimi Onuoha

2 LIGHT BREEZE: Stillness in Motion   79
Tomás Saraceno

3 GENTLE BREEZE: The Gardener, the Rubber Tapper, and the Herbalist   98
Barbara Marcel

4 MODERATE BREEZE: Trapped in the Dream of the Other   115
Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen with text by Eva Wilson

5 FRESH BREEZE: Meghri/Agarak   138
Pejvak (Rouzbeh Akhbari & Felix Kalmenson)

6 STRONG BREEZE: Cmes’ekst   188
Tania Willard

7 NEAR GALE: Unsettling Practices   211
Tom Keefer and Adrienne Telford in conversation with D.T. Cochrane

8 GALE: Colonialism at the Sea Edge of Extinction   233
Macarena Gómez-Barris

d’bi.young anitafrika

10 STORM: Unfamiliar Creatures Will be Scattered at Your Feet   285
Jesse Birch

11 VIOLENT STORM: The Gunshots Turned Out to Be Tear Gas   307
Anna Feigenbaum

12 HURRICANE: The Theory of the Fire Ants   333
Juliana Spahr


Co-published by K. Verlag and the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga

Co-editors: Christine Shaw and Etienne Turpin

Managing Editor: Anna-Sophie Springer

Copy Editor: Jeffrey Malecki

Proofing: Lusas Freeman and Anne-Sophie Springer

Design: Katharina Tauer

Printing and Binding: Tallinna Raamatutrükikoja OÜ, Tallinn, Estonia

How To Order

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A 20% discount is available to students and members of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.


This book is published as part of The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea, a three-part exhibition and publication series dedicated to opening perspectives on climate change, environmental crisis, and resilience, developed by Christine Shaw from June 2018 to September 2019. It is the first of three volumes, with two additional volumes forthcoming in 2020.

The project series The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded in part through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

Related Projects

The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea
Curated by Christine Shaw