It’s snowing like crazy here in Helsinki. I find the storm calming in a way but that’s only because I can stay inside. I realise the storm has an enormous effect on certain things, traffic perhaps being the most obvious. Heavy snowfall also always increases health risks as a couple of people die every winter due to snow and ice falling from the roofs of buildings.
I hate flying when the weather is like this. The Helsinki-Vantaa airport is known for being well-prepared for heavy snowfall but where snow is more rare it always causes problems. Snow is what Levi Bryant would call a rogue object. Rogue objects enter relations unannounced and mess things up:
[R]ogue objects – my favorite – are objects that erupt into assemblages from nowhere, transforming all the relations in that assemblage. Astronomers have suggested that there are rogue planets, stars, and even black holes. These rogue bodies are bodies that enjoy no fixed orbit or vectoral position, but which instead circulate throughout galaxies, entering other solar systems, disrupting all relations and reconfiguring them. Rogue objects are the new social movements, species, and technologies. They are the revolutionaries. OWS is perhaps a rogue object. The Arab Spring was a rogue object. The internet was a rogue object. The printing press was a rogue object. The pill was a rogue object. These are objects that erupt out of nowhere and change everything. Sometimes the eruption of these objects is disastrous as in the case depicted by Melancholia, while at other times they are emancipatory and transformative. We’re never quite sure what a rogue object will do.
Perhaps more (although still loosely I assume) connected to archaeology is John Schofield’s (2009. Landscape with Snow. Landscapes 10(2), 1-18.) article on snowy landscapes:
For centuries, scientists, philosophers and astronomers have pondered the nature of snow, its composition, shape, form and beauty. The seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler speculated on the ‘six corneredness’ of snow. The mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes published the first scientifically accurate drawings of snowflakes at around the same time. And in 1665 Robert Hooke examined snow under a microscope, before comparing the beauty of snowflakes with other forms of holiness. There is no questioning the symmetry and beauty of snowflakes when seen at this microscopic scale. Yet, who would imagine that such a tiny thing could cause such transformative landscape change over millennia, and such dramatic shifts in the way society perceives and makes use of their familiar landscape? Even where snow settles only briefly, the landscape is transformed, not to mention the economic impact snowfall has on society. There is innocence in snowfall; it can calm one’s mood and lift the spirit. It provides a new view of familiar landscapes, creating opportunities to subvert rules and protocols of being in the landscape. Snow changes things, and this research – part personal sentiment, part theoretical overview, part phenomenology, and part literary and fine art critique – begins to explore how and why this might be.
I have been unable to get my hands on that article. The University of Helsinki library subscribes to another journal called Landscapes/paysages, but not this Landscapes, which seems to include a lot of interesting articles…