Associate Professor Grayson Cooke from Southern Cross University had, like many people, a lot of time to kill when COVID brought the world to a grinding halt in March of 2020. Cooke, like many others, decided to delve into an art project as a creative outlet for his extra energy and time. His Himawari project (named after the Japanese Himawari satellite from which all of his images originated) is an art and science video experience showcasing the beauty and utility of the clouds swirling around the planet. In the words of the creator, “We often ignore the clouds – someone whose ‘head is in the clouds’ is someone not living in reality. And yet clouds and swirls of water vapour are literally what keeps us alive.” With climate change changing all aspects of our world, understanding how clouds form and move is more important than ever. The video Cooke produced used two days of satellite data forecasting weather in Australia collected by the Himawari satellite, which unlike Landsat images, collected data at a smaller scale and captured not only visual imagery but also temperature and water vapour concentration. The end result is an etheric model of clouds and water vapour delicately swirling in the atmosphere across Australia and the world. The video is a part of what is now a larger visual media project called Path 99, which will be a full-dome planetarium projection at the Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand in 2021. It is unclear if the project will also have a complimentary educational aspect about how climate change will affect clouds, but the project is relatively new and its integration into the larger Path 99 project could make the Himawari project part of a broader narrative.

How one artist in isolation is keeping his head in clouds.” Mirage, April 23, 2020.


Aesthetic/Leisure, Climate Change, Ecological Modelling