Ismail Ibrahim

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Smoke Week

Smoke Week

Suddenly the outdoors looked like indoors, and felt like the indoors

On the weather map on my phone, as I stood and consulted it at 81st and Central Park West, the color-coded diagram of the plumes scorching and stretching south from Ottawa looked exactly like a circa-2004 televised aerial heat map visualization of some especially deadly nighttime moment in a town somewhere in Basra. The colors populating my Instagram feed when I swiped over from the weather map—filtered, balanced, enhanced—were similarly vivid and lively, the colors of harvests and autumn leaves. In real life at midday, the chromatic effects on Central Park West were more like sepia, paprika, piss.