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Burean of Atmospheric Anecdata, Germany
by Beth Grossman and Christine Baeumler

The Bureau of Atmospheric Anecdata is an ongoing
collaborative and participatory environmental project
created by Beth Grossman and Christine Baeumler.

anecdata (an.ik.DAY.tuh; an.ik.DAT.uh)
n. Anecdotal evidence used as data in an attempt to prove a hypothesis or make a forecast.

BAA is installed as a portable "Weather Station" in international town squares and gardens. The Bureau conducts interviews with residents about their observations and memories of winters past. Through these anecdotes, the Bureau documents how peoples' experience of the climate has changed within their lifetime. Each project culminates in an outdoor evening presentation of the edited stories accompanied by the flickering images of snow projected into the trees.


We set up a portable "Weather Station" in Rotenburg, Germany to attract and invite local residents, both young and old. Residents were interviewed about their memories and folklore of winter. We also visited local homes in the region to collect stories and family photographs. Through these anecdotes and historical depictions, we investigated and creatively documented how the seasons have been altered by climate change and how these changes have been experienced by the inhabitants. We conjured memories of winter during the height of summer.

  A world map was pin-pointed to track the locations of our visitors’ stories. The traveling weather station has served as a place people can meet and share their stories and photos with each other. When people get together and tell their stories, change can happen.


Residents brought us old photographs and introduced us to local elders, who invited us into their homes for interviews.


We visited a local swimming pool and engaged in dialogs about climate change. Telling people that they must stop driving their gas guzzling sport utility vehicles only brings on excuses and resistance. Listening to peoples’ memories of winter encourages the recognition of a dire need for environmental action.

“Oh, you are those crazy, zealous global warming people, that is a bunch of crock!” We continued to listen to him go on and on about politicians lying. Once we turned off the recorder, he remembered that last year there was only one day of  snow.


One interviewee told us, “We used to wait anxiously for the Mayor to declare that the river was frozen enough for us all to go skating. I don’t even know how to describe what sledding is to my children as last year we had only one day of snow.”


The  BAA  weather  station was set in a grove for the outdoor evening sound performance of winter stories and songs along with a flickering snow projection into the trees, which was presented on the grounds of the Educational Center for Environmental Issues.

This project was debuted as part of the International Nature Art Forum 2007 in Licherode and was developed in collaboration with the Umweltbildungszentrum Licherode (Educational Center for Environmental Issues- Licherode) and ProRegion Mittleres Fuldatal.

It is an official contribution for UN World Decade -- Education for Sustainable Development in which the center for Environmental Education Licherode takes part.

Cheryl Wilgren Clyne edited the sound collected by the team and created the projection entitled Another Kind of Winter.