Friday 29th November -
Sunday 1st December 2019

Before its most recent iteration as a site of Artistic Research, Bidston Observatory housed the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). A large part of the work which took place in the building was related to tidal prediction – speculating on what height the tide would be in any given place, at a given moment, depending on different natural and human influenced factors. 

In the second half of the 19th century tidal prediction was done through harmonic analysis, studying the graphical output of tidal prediction machines. Those early analog computers produced a wave-like form that, when output in a jagged way, had to be rubbed out and drawn in again by hand. There was even a name for this human job in assistance to the computation process: the ‘smoother’. 

This weekend workshop is for marine data modellers, tired oceanographers, software critics, and people concerned with
the politics of predictive visualizations.
Practicalities & co-inquiry:
As computational models expand and deepen with ever-increasing data sets, and the aesthetics of prediction rush their transformations from wavy lines on a paper page, to hyper-real 3D renderings, we'd like to pause for a moment to look at the histories of oceanographic measurement, computation and visualisation.

By observing together the devices and techniques dedicated to these tasks, Modelling Waves and Swerves will inquire into what is the context of this data-practice, and what are the 'smoothing' operations that characterize the work of today's oceanographers. 
Weekend Workgroups:

Nov '19 / Feb '20 / May '20
Friday 7th February -
Sunday 9th February 2020
Friday 8th May -
Sunday 10th May 2020
The workshop has been arranged for people to arrive on Friday evenings and leave after lunch on Sunday.

The weekends are participatory workgroups: less 'lecture series', and more prolonged conversation
around themes.

The format is intentionally kept loose to allow for eddies and cross-currents.
If you would like to join, please email:

Nightly stay is, as always, £15.
Food costs for the weekend
will be around £20,
and we will be cooking collectively.

Roughly <1/2 a day: Texts on measurement

Katherine Sammler - on visualisation and juridical sea/land boundary practices: The rising politics of sea level - demarcating territory in a vertically relative world (2019)

Roughly <1/2 a day: Looking at FVCOM + NetCDF format. The current 'tidal prediction machines', and the way that they produce visualisations.


Possible Bodies: Somatopologies, screening & guide
by Jara Roche & Femke Snelting

Roughly <1/2 a day: Measuring device interrogation

Karen Barad - on technoscientific practices, or how material-discursive practices matter: Meeting The Universe Halfway (2007)
Domes FM broadcast with
AND Festival & Light Night