Weather modification and cloud seeding: is it really that hard to believe?
If you think those long white lines left in the wake of passing airplanes scoring the sky from ear-to-ear are noticeably thicker, longer, and remain for a longer duration than they did twenty or thirty years ago, you’re not alone. A growing number of people are looking skyward and wondering:
What’s going on up there?
That’s exactly what happened to artist Susan Riedley.
Instead of looking down at her phone, Riedley is often looking up to catch a glimpse of a bird, a cloud, a falling star. Her fascination with the above and beyond has remained with her since childhood.
Several years ago, while living in California, she began noticing more and more of the line-shaped clouds known as contrails, which are produced by aircraft exhaust, criss-crossing and covering more of the sky, more frequently. But something seemed off.
“I would take the time to watch the ejection, the process of the dispersion, the rippling waves of matter and the gravity pulling that matter down to earth along with the subsequent haziness,” she said. “Basic observation caused me to conclude that these were fundamentally and physically different from the contrails I knew and recognized.”
It was then she realized she wanted to start talking about it because of the many implications and lasting consequences.
“We need the air to be clean. We breathe it, our children inhale it, our pets, wildlife, everything is affected [by the quality of the air],” she said.
Chemtrails have been widely shouldered into the category of conspiracy theory — the notion that the government has long been involved in clandestine programs aimed at weather modification for the purposes of solar geoengineering, cloud seeding, psychological manipulation, population control, chemical and biological warfare tactics, is absolutely crazy, right?
But how do you have a meaningful conversation? How do you ask honest questions about a subject so polarizing that it has already been preemptively discarded as conspiratorial rubbish?
Riedley said,“If someone wants to throw the label ‘conspiracy theorist’ my way, I won’t waste my time wrestling with a closed mind.”
Instead, she is trying to have that conversation via her art.
“This is my attempt to say something I feel needs to be said,” she said of her art show, Above and Beyond, which she considers a Public Service Announcement, currently announcing at Bountiful Davis Art Center in Bountiful, Utah, through February 20.
She paints images of the sky criss-crossed with cloud trails from photographs, even paused scenes from television shows and movies.
“Each [painting] is paired with the source images on the title labels,” she said. “I want people to see that my art is made with my eyes, not my imagination.” Literally, she paints what she sees, albeit with a dab of pretty color here and there.
She doesn’t claim to be an authority, an expert. She’s just an observer. All she wants is people to look up, think, then decide for themselves, because it is far easier to reject an idea that falls outside the status quo, a certain way of thinking, as conspiracy theory, than it is to confront uncomfortable possibilities.
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