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In a recent article on 'breathing climate crises', Blanche Verlie and Astrida Neimanis advocate for a move beyond strategies of bodily 'attunement' found widely in the environmental humanities and toward practices of 'conspiratorial witnessing' involving the use of 'proxy stories' as 'amplifiers and sensitisers' of our own attunements (2023: 126). For these authors, microscopes, qualitative interviews and poems might all be "mediating prostheses that open certain experiences for us" (2023: 126). As I stand on a picnic table on the west side of Founders Field at Royal Holloway, I think about the antenna I am holding as a prosethetic. This is not unfamiliar: together with other members of open-weather, Soph and I have written about the relationship of body to satellite (and DIY ground station) as a “subversive prosthetic” (Engelmann et al., 2022). In later writing (Engelmann, 2023), and in dialogue with Soph’s masters dissertation work on the material politics of radio (Dyer 2017), I have tried to understand the relationship of body to antenna (and satellite) not through the lens of the prosethetic but as a mutual 'agitation': an agitation of embodied and sensory weather knowledges, and, in turn, an agitation of the “scientific weather” made accessible through orbiting satellites. When we use technologies to tell 'proxy stories' of weather and climate, how much do we need to account for the way these stories come into friction, creating agitation and heat? How might this agitation, this heat, itself be a site of 'witnessing climate'? Midway through my satellite pass on Founder's Field I manage to ask a second-year undergraduate 'Financial and Business Economics' student to take some documentation photos of me waving the antenna at the sky. He politely keeps from looking amused or bewildered. Walking down from the field through the Royal Holloway woodland, I can't help but notice the swampy waters of the woodland pool and a green-feathered duck asleep at the bank. The woods are buzzing with green life, but they feel far too warm and languid for May. Later in the afternoon at a staff meeting, serious conversations about university finances cause various states of anxiety and worry, and bodies slope in their chairs. I think: how do we witness when things heat up? What is the 'heat' we witness?


15 May 2024 10:29:49


Founder's Field, Royal Holloway University of London

Country or Territory

United Kingdom


Sasha Engelmann



Radio Callsign


Latitute / Longitude

51.424046, -0.568904