One hundred years ago this year, a solar eclipse occurred that would forever change scientific history. Two researchers – Arthur Eddington on the island of Principe off the coast of Africa and Frank Watson Dyson in Sobral in Brazil – tested Einstein’s relativity theory, which describes gravity not as a force, but as a curvature of space-time. On 29 May, 1919, these men studied the sun during the eclipse and were able to confirm Einstein’s theory – the light really did curve when it passed the edge of the moon.
To celebrate and commemorate this crucial discovery, Bigert & Bergström are exhibiting a series of works of art at Taverna Brillo in Stockholm, which all relate to light and darkness, sun and shadow.
In the restaurant section of the bar Växthusbaren, flickering light from wall sconces with black candles will be reflected in a series of photographs of solar eclipses. The work Solar Prominence I–X shows the same sun and moon at different dates on different years, taken from different places on earth. The oldest photo is from 1869 and the newest from 2017.
In the glass-roofed area hangs a giant wall hanging called Molnridå (Curtain of Clouds), made of foil-coated shade cloth, which is used in greenhouses to deflect unwanted sunlight. The curtain moves up and down, waving and pulsating like a stormy cloudbank, building and collapsing at the same time.
Next to it is the work Solkors/skymd himmel (Sun Cross/Hidden Sky). It is a replica of an old rain machine that was used in the theatre to make the sound of rain. Spectators can wind up this brown-stained wooden piece to create fictional rain.
In the many years they’ve collaborated, Bigert & Bergström have focused on humanity’s attempts to control the weather and climate. Often inspired by scientific experiments with speculative elements, B&B have created their own versions of the experiments to generate performance installations like Biosphere III in 1990 and Climate Chambers in 1994–98. Since 2007 they’ve been investigating geo-engineering, both in their documentary film The Weather War, 2012, and in land art performances like Rescue Blanket for Kebnekaise, 2016.
Photos: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Sketches – Cloud Curtain
Photos: Studio Bigert & Bergström