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’. 

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. 
This weekend workshop is for marine data modellers, tired oceanographers, software critics, and people concerned with the politics of predictive visualizations.
The workshop has been arranged for people to arrive on Friday evening and leave after lunch on Sunday.
Thinking about this weekend less as 'lecture series' and more as a prolonged conversation around a theme, over the course of the gathering, we'll be spending time on:



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

Karen Barad - on technoscientific practices, or how material-discursive practices matter: Meeting The Universe Halfway (2007)











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.

This is the first of three meet-ups, the next will be:


Practicalities & co-inquiry:






Roughly <1/2 a day: Texts on measurement









Roughly <1/2 a day: Measuring device interrogation

Roughly <1/2 a day: Texts on modelling & Planetary Scale Aesthetics

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





enquiries@bidstonobservatory.org







February 2020
Fri 7th evening >
Sun 9th afternoon

May 2020
Fri 8th evening >
Sun 10th afternoon