Rachael Rakes on Jacqueline Goss’s video art and new film The Observers.
Wind is the worst kind of weather, a quotidian reminder of the environment’s dominance: when the sun is hot, we beg for wind; in winter, we struggle against columns of air. Turning over sandcastles and upending the picnic, it’s a barrier to our attempts at some sense of connection with nature.
For the past dozen years, Jacqueline Goss has made video inquiries into social problems and the measures taken to alleviate them. Her short works often focus on the personal repercussions of broadly applied social fixes. Goss’s new, near-feature length film, The Observers, ruminates on rough weather and the treacherous isolation of tracking it. The film is a document of a weather station at the summit of Mount Washington, NH, (whose website boasts that it has the World’s Worst Weather). It’s a place of record-breaking winds (hundreds of miles per hour) and sub-zero temperatures, where staff take hourly readings of the temperature, wind speed, and barometric pressure. The scientists, the air, and the landscape are the subjects of the fictionalized study.