The leitmotif of Melick's article and his key to the exhibition is a quote from Mark Twain:
The weather is always doing something there; always attending strictly to business; always getting up new designs and trying them on the people to see how they will go.Eliasson as an artist does exactly what the weather does:
His project might best be described as an attempt to alter our sensory perception of the natural world via the principles supplied by nature.He is, like the weather, in the business of experiences.Our current discussions for example of recent extreme weather events are part of the long history of human response to weather events; weather that does something to us; weather which is "in fact interested in how we ‘the people’ will react to its experiments, conjuring up new patterns and shapes to see how we might respond." What an amazing idea that is: weather / climate is watching us, not only the other way round.
A few of the employees to be seen working in Eliasson’s Berlin studio include: two electricians, an electrical engineer, two blacksmiths, a carpenter, a furniture builder, geometricians, artists, architects, a light planner, occasional model makers, as well as an archive department housing two or three art historians, a bookkeeper and a project manager.Meteorology is (just as climate science is) a science that deals with predictions / prophecies; it brings a glimpse of the future into our "cultivated sense of space". Melick has an excellent interpretation here of the ambivalent attitude of the audience to these prophecies from the unknown; here it is about the weather, but in my guess the same is true for climate:
Eliasson believes that “like a time traveler, weather predictions are able to get a small part of the yet abstract future and include it in our cultivated sense of space.” So if we follow him here, this might explain why weather forecasts – these little prophecies happening everyday – are so appealing. Although we are forced to admit that everything is subject to the unstable laws of the unknown, it’s comforting to know that the weather tomorrow is more or less predictable. Yet we shouldn’t forget that this is often coupled with an equally fulfilling sensation when the weatherman/woman gets it wrong, as though their mistake is visible proof that the undecided and spasmodic tendency of the universe invades all areas of human measurement. In this way the weather is a rare teacher, since as Buckminster Fuller observed, ‘tiny as man is, he rarely has the opportunity to identify his measurable stature in history.’Weather is on the surface. Eliason's rooms and installations are described as being on the surface, too. These installations do not teach much. Melick is criticial about over-ambitious interpretations; instead, he recommends that
Take Your Time might best be approached like a collection of climates ready for your sensory participation rather than a space where an epiphany should occur, or where a community can spontaneously commence.He suggests that the exhibition might be a good remedy for those "with a predisposition for being dramatically affected by the weather", such as people getting depressed during long periods of darkness in Nordic winters. The same might be true for those among us who get depressed from time to time during long periods of monotonous climate interpretation, be it alarmist or skeptic:
Once you’re in the space most glum and lugubrious feelings momentarily or partially wash away – whether you encounter the man-made rainbow or an entire wall made out of Norwegian moss.For Eliasson, quite literally, weather and climate are constructions; he constructs them for the audience. On the other hand, we make in his exhibitions or in the other one, the great exhibition called planet earth, experiences, our senses are affected, and our perceptions change according to ever new patterns; something acts upon us. When we talk about the weather or when we discuss climate - do we talk about nature or culture? This question doesn't make sense anymore.