Bigert and Bergström: The Weather War
The Swedish duo explore man's attempts to control the weather
Man’s attempt to control the weather is the focus of this exhibition by the Swedish artists Bigert and Bergström. The installation’s focus is a film, which serves as both a walk through the history of the weather and contemporary methods of weather modification, and an explanation for the odd sculptural forms that inhabit Summerhall’s cavernous spaces.
The film records the artists’ own attempt to control the weather aided by a machine-turned-sculpture, the ‘Tornado Diverter’. This flimsy funnel claims to shift the electromagnetic field enough to run the wind off course. As a tornado emerges from the dark grey skies over the Midwest USA, the prospect seems unlikely. But contemporary weather modification is increasingly aggressive, and the film also records more forceful pieces of equipment. These include Italian weather canons that protect crops from hailstones, and the Chinese missiles that diverted rainfall during the 2008 Olympic ceremonies.
Meteorology developed symbiotically with warfare, and weather forecasts have long influenced military strategies. Now it seems the conflict is with the weather itself, as mankind desperately attempts to control its power. Ending on aerial shots of tornado-flattened Joplin, Missouri, and the slum towns of displaced Bangladeshi flood victims, the message of the film feels far from victorious.
Summerhall, until Sat 24 May.