Samuel Riggs | Editor & Sineád Baker | Editor-at-Large
The Science Gallery launched their new exhibition last night, entitled “Strange Weather”. The exhibit features a number of different displays, each of which is designed to highlight the ways that our climate is changing – whether through the influence of humans, or otherwise.
On launch night, our attention was immediately drawn to the whirring cotton candy machine at the back of the room, where giant balls of blue cotton candy, reminiscient of clouds, were handed out to kids and grown-ups alike. The exhibit, at first glance, seems much more passive than previous Science Gallery offerings – nothing is whirring, there are no loud reverberations through the hall, and there are far more passive displays than one would expect. However, a quick chat with one of the helpful guides, and we were immediately drawn towards the Climate Bureau, where a friendly expert sits to help you discover what your true calling is when engaging with climate change in the future. Categories like ‘Geo Hacktivist’ (the one we achieved) make it apparent whether you need to change your ways, or if you’re well on your way to helping make a difference as regards the climate on earth.
Well worth a visit is the interactive ‘Cloud Pink’ by Krayware, where you can cause clouds to tumble around your fingers. ‘Cloud’, by Matt Kenyon, draws the eye, as helium-infused masses of bubbles float towards the ceiling, drawing coos of wonder from the kids who flock to it. The striking geometric patterns of the photos on the wall pique the interest, and the book of internet posts gleaned from searching #weather draws giggles from anyone who flicks through its pages.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the exhibit was the invitation from the staff to taste the water that is distilled from clouds, and answer a short questionnaire afterwards. Questions such as “Do you ever feel like you are one with your environment?” and “Do you feel as if you contain multititudes?” keep the tone of the exhibit light, while also giving visitors a truly unique and intriguing experience.
Everything about the launch was themed around weather – from the gigantic Tornado Deflector in the Weather Wars exhibit, to the finger food on offer – melting Eton Mess designed to remind you of a rapidly disintegrating glacier – the exhibit plays with our engagement with weather. It is often deeply impac
ting, frequently humourous, and always relevant. It forces you to realise a future where humans have to continually adapt to a rapidly changing environment. It does this in upfront ways, with the 100 Year Climate Model of Earth, and in subtle ways – the haunting presence of Hazmat Suits for Children, designed by Marina Zurkow, lurk around every corner.
On the exhibit, Interim Director Lynn Scarff said “Weather is something that unites us; it shapes our daily experience and brings us together. It’shard to talk about climate change; it seems far removed, it doesn’t seem tangible. This is about your connection to your physical world.”
‘Strange Weather’ is open to the public from today, the 18th of July, and will continue on for a number of months.