Tomorrow’s Weather
2009 —

The ongoing work Tomorrow’s Weather is a series of large-scale sculptural light installations that also function as weather stations. Consisting of clusters of hanging atmospheric molecules made out of acrylic spheres that are lit up from within by DMX-controlled LEDs, the installation’s lighting and color change depending on tomorrow’s weather forecast.

The installations receive data from the local forecasting service and transform this input into a fluctuating lighting scenario that gives the viewer an intuitive image of what weather to expect in twenty-four hours. For example, if showers and thunder are approaching, the light in the spheres resembles a drizzling and dripping vertical movement, sometimes interrupted by bright flashes. If the sun will be shining in a clear blue sky, the installation takes on various shades of blue with dots of yellow illumination.

Illustration by Johan Mets

Centrally placed among the molecule-like clusters is a single suspended globe. It is connected to a DMX-controlled winch, and moves up or down depending on the temperature outdoors; if a heat wave is on its way, the globe will rise and turn red, while a cold spell will lower it and the color will shift to deep blue.

In contrast to the outside, this indoor environment only holds a small number of atmospheric molecules in its space; while the actual sky, at the altitude where most weather occurs, contains more than 1017 molecules per cubic centimeter. 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.

Tomorrow’s Weather – Aller Media, Copenhagen, 2009

Photo: Anders Sune Berg

 

The light installation Tomorrow’s Weather Copenhagen, consist of 125 atmospheric molecules, H2O, CO2, N2, O3 etc., lighting up the headquarters of the Danish publish house Aller. The double helix shaped cluster reaches 35 m up in the air and is connected to the Danish weather forecast bureau. As the weather forecast changes the light scenarios of the molecules change and give the viewer an intuitive experience of what the weather will look like tomorrow. In the center of the work is a single globe placed which travels up or down depending on the temperature.

 

Tomorrow's Weather Copenhagen, 2009
RGB-LED lights, acrylic molecules, weather computer, 
dmx-vinch, 35 x 20 x 15 m

Photos: Anders Sune Berg
Sketch, external molecules

Tomorrows Weather – Stockholm, 2010

Overcast -2°. Installation view, "Temporary Truth" exhibition, Milliken Gallery, Stockholm, 2010. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

Tomorrows Weather Stockholm installation, first displayed as part of Bigert & Bergström’s solo show, Temporary Truth, in Milliken Gallery, Stockholm (2010). The piece consists of a cluster of atmospheric molecules radiating different lights and colors depending on tomorrows weather forecast. Connected to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), the work updates every hour and through different light scenarios depicts that very special weather – i.e. overcast, sun or snow. A single globe, centrally placed among the molecules, signals the temperature through moving up and down and changing color between blue and red.

As the work is postponed one day into the future and constantly self-transform, it reaches beyond the contemporary and manifest itself as a futurespective piece.

Tomorrow's Weather Stockholm, 2010.
Acrylic globes, RGB-LED light engines, cables, 
weather computer, 6 x 6 x 5 m
Technical drawing of the work's disposition
Sunshine and clear sky, -7. Installation view detail, "Temporary Truth" exhibition, Milliken Gallery, Stockholm, 2010. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

Tomorrow’s Weather – Stockholm Central Station, 2012

Photo: Sasaki Yang
Overcast and snow, -6°C. Photo: Sasaki Yang

At the request of Sweden’s National Public Art Council and the rail transport industry real estate company Jernhusen, Bigert & Bergström have completed a new site-specific work of art at the Stockholm Central Station. Entitled Tomorrow’s Weather Stockholm Central Station, the piece is designed as a topographic staircase overhung by glowing molecules.

The rising structure is reminiscent of sedimentary layers, or the Arctic ice cores bored out to study climatic changes through history. The atmospheric molecules (H2O, C2, N2, etc.) change color depending on the following day’s weather forecast. The work updates three times a day with the latest weather service reports, changing its guise according to the forecast. If sunny skies are predicted, the molecules take on blue tones with splashes of yellow; if clouds and rain are approaching, the molecules reflect a variety of grey tones. At the center of the molecular cloud is a single globe that moves up and down with the temperature. On cold days it hangs low and glows blue, while a warm front makes the globe rise and turn red.

On first glance, the work is an informative instrument that travelers can ‘use’ to get an idea of tomorrow’s weather. At the same time its form is so abstract that the viewer must interpret the shifting light of the molecules intuitively. Only by observing the work many times can one ‘learn’ to read it.

The piece also ties directly into the bustle of the station, with its ever-changing arrival and departure boards that travelers continuously monitor for changes in times and platforms. The immediate future feels controlled and comprehensible, but that can all change quickly. Both heat distortion and snowdrifts can lead to a train being cancelled. The temporary, volatile nature of life can be exemplified by something as simple as a passing rain shower. One small perceptual error in a weather forecast that makes us miss our train. The trivial detail that can lead to extreme consequences. We are reminded that the station is an environment that is not truly indoors. It is in constant contact with the climate through the regular departures and arrivals of the trains through the countryside.

The station is an urban space with few elements of the outside world that it communicates with. Other works of art in the building all relate to nature in various ways, and so does Tomorrow’s Weather, Stockholm Central Station – but with one key difference: Where the other works depict nature in static form, Bigert & Bergström’s work is a schematic model inherently linked to changes in the natural surroundings, and is therefore itself changeable. For B&B, this is an interesting paradigm shift in which modern art merges with new technology to step away from the purely representative and become a part of on-going reality.

 

Tomorrow's Weather Stockholm Central Station, 2012.
Acrylic spheres, RGB-LED's, electric cable, DMX-controller, 
weather data, MDF, polyurethane coating, 2 x 8 x 16 m
Computer model and visualization
CO2 close up. Photo: Sasaki Yang
Topography inspiration, annual rings, sediment, drill core and atmosphere
Topography and atmospheric molecules. Photos: Sasaki Yang

Tomorrow’s Weather – 21c Museum Hotel, Lexington, Kentucky, 2016

Commissioned by the 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, Bigert & Bergström created a weather forecast installation in the hotel’s lounge area. 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 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.

 

Tomorrow's Weather Lexington, 2016 Acrylic spheres, RGB-LED's, electric cable, DMX-controller, weather data, 12 x 6 x 14 m
Photos: Studio Bigert & Bergström
Technical drawing of the work's disposition

Stratigraphy & Tomorrows Weather – Valle Hovin school, Oslo, 2017

Photo: Trond A. Isaksen

Stratigraphy & Tomorrows Weather is a public work that greets all visitors to Valle Hovin School in Oslo, as well as all the visitors to the Valle Hovin sports arena – who shares the same localities. The project is financed by Oslo City, and was curated by Power Ekroth. The project consists of two parts – one part is made by around 60 hanging molecules made in acryl, in five different colors, hanging along the concourse, and two sculptures made of stone.

The molecules – H2O, C2, N2, CO and CO – changes the light and color depending on tomorrow’s weather prognosis and is updated through the web three times a day. If tomorrow’s weather is expected to be sunny, the molecules will have a blue shimmer with some yellow for instance. The progamme has 29 different appearances.

The large sculpture of stone, Stratigraphy, is an interactive meeting-point on top of which one can use as a seating place. The stone is taken from the geologic time periods in Norway, and emits warmth.

 

Tomorrow's Weather
Acrylic globes, RGB-LED light engines, cables, 
weather computer, dimension variable

Stratigraphy
Various types of stone
Photo: Trond A. Isaksen
Illustration, disposition of the works
Photo: Trond A. Isaksen
Photo: Trond A. Isaksen
Installation process. Photo: Studio Bigert & Bergström
"Stratigraphy" sculpture production. Photo: Studio Bigert & Bergström
Illustration
"Stratigraphy & Tomorrows Weather," Oslo, 2017. Filmed by Lars Siltberg