Feeling Climate Change: Intersections of Everyday Cycling and Climate Change
My current research deals with ways in which climate change, a phenomenon operating at global and generational scales, beyond human perception, could be contextualized in an embodied, tangible way within the daily practices of everyday cyclists. I chose everyday cyclists because their daily exposure to the elements renders them uniquely attuned to climate and uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. My design concept uses speculative, wearable technology to leverage a cyclists’ sensorial understanding of climate, developed through their embodied personal practice, in order to enable speculation in action about the potential futures of living with climate change. I accomplish this through designing a pair of pants, called Highwater Pants, that actuate in relation to future sea-level rise projection maps in real time as a cyclist rides their bike, creating meaningful physical sensations that layer climate change data over the sensorial gestalt of the bike ride. This is a type of time-bending: merging histories of practice with imagined futures in the present, embodied moment. The goal of this research is to explore how speculative technology can facilitate new understandings of climate change which operate at the scale of everyday life and in ways that are nuanced, felt, and personally meaningful.