Tomorrow’s Weather Lexington, 2016
Commissioned by the 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, Bigert & Bergström have created a new weather forecast installation in the lounge area of the hotel. Consisting of atmospheric molecules made out of acrylic spheres and lit up from the inside with DMX-controlled RGB-LEDs, the installation’s lighting and color change depending on tomorrow’s weather forecast. The installation receives data from the local weather service and transforms this input into a fluctuating light scenario that gives the viewer an intuitive image of what weather to expect in 24 hours.
For example, if showers and thunder are approaching, the light resembles a drizzling and dripping vertical movement through the molecules, sometimes interrupted by bright flashes. If the sun will be shining from a clear blue sky, the installation takes on various shades of blue with dots of yellow illuminating parts of the molecular sky. In the entrance to the room, a single globe hovers, which moves up and down depending on the temperature outside. If a heat wave is on its way, the globe will rise and turn red, while a cold spell will lower it and color it deep blue.
Tomorrow’s Weather, Lexington is the third installment of this type. The other two are located in Stockholm and Copenhagen. The installations are developed specifically for the spaces they occupy and attain their special features based on the local weather conditions. In the case of Lexington, the molecules in the room hang around a central column where the wind is given a central role. Every five minutes, a counter-clockwise light movement passes through the installation. How fast depends on the wind speed forecast for tomorrow.
In contrast to the outdoors, this indoor atmosphere only holds 32 molecules in its space, while the real sky, at the altitude where most weather occurs, contains more than 1017 molecules per cubic cm. But the principle is the same: when light moves through the higher atmosphere, the molecules scatter it. The color blue is scattered most because of its short wavelength, which is why, on a clear day, we mostly gaze up into a field of blue. The installation thus brings a portion of the real sky to the guests at the hotel, and hopefully their attention is diverted for a while. From the perfectly controlled indoor climate, to the ever-changing outside drama that we call the weather.