The exhibition “Weather Report” at the Bundeskunsthalle was developed in close collaboration with the Deutsches Museum in Munich and its branch in Bonn. Together we have chosen an experimental and interdisciplinary approach to this current topic, which combines the different perspectives of artistic positions with cultural history and natural sciences. The Deutsches Museum has contributed its scientific expertise and a large array of loans. Our exhibition clearly wants to serve educational purposes, but also aims to reach our visitors emotionally and aesthetically in order to raise awareness for the beauty of all weather phenomena and their essential importance in our daily lives and during our entire life times.
I'm a prisoner of hope.
(Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Climate expert)
The different chapters of the exhibition combine top-quality artistic, culture-historical, and scientific exhibits from all over the world – altogether 400 objects from over 100 lenders. Amongst many others the show includes works by John Constable, William Turner, Gustave Courbet, Otto Modersohn Joaquin Sorolla, Giovanni Segantini, Germaine Richier and Pieter Hugo. Scientific treasures such as the first waterproof rubber shoes by Macintosh, and an original thermometer by Daniel Fahrenheit are also presented in this exhibition. It is our aim to create compelling and affective spheres, which also provide explanations and food for thought.
Weather is the actual experience of climate. The term “climate” comprises the statistical gathering of meteorological events over a certain period. A climate trend can be discerned from thirty years of weather events. The exhibition ponders the extent to which short-term meteorological occurrences and long-term climate changes influence nature, human civilisation, and culture. On Earth, weather and climate are all-encompassing and inescapable. Nobody can say, “I don’t like it and therefore I opt out of it.” Weather events and climate trends are highly relevant to society because we are constantly affected and sometimes even threatened by them. Our subjective relationship with the atmosphere that surrounds us, with the “whim of air” or the “breath of God”, has been the subject of art, intellectual commentary and magic spell at all times and in all cultures, regardless of whether they were exposed to clement or inclement climes.
Besides the cultural perspective on weather and its artistic reception, the scientific gathering of weather and climate data, the history of meteorology, the problem of forecasts as well as current aspects of global climate changes play a role. Since the 1980s, climate change has been part of our collective awareness, and despite scientific research and political endeavours, the problem is far from solved. After numerous climate conferences and an immense increase of special interest groups, it has become practically impossible for a layperson to get an objective impression. As a topic, climate change is prevalent throughout the exhibition.
The narrative structure of the exhibition – the poetic portrayal of a day in twelve rooms – illustrates different weather and climate phenomena as well as the evocations and explanations accompanying them: from mythically romanticised haze at daybreak, to sun, air, and sea before noon, mist, clouds, rain, and wind in the afternoon, to storms, thunder, snow, and ice in the evening – which, in accordance with the circular tour through the exhibition, is followed by a new morning. On the one hand, the underlying structure of the exhibition presents humans’ awestruck, interpretational, and aesthetic approach to weather in art, everyday culture, and religion, and on the other hand, the exhibition attempts to scientifically assess, analyse, and simulate the different phenomena with the aim of forecasting, or even controlling weather and climate events. Instead of the customary presentation in separate disciplinary segments, the different disciplines should correspond with each other in this exhibition, leading to new interesting correlations and insights.
The display in each room will be supplemented with a surprisingly unconventional filmic weather report by the meteorologist Karsten Schwanke. A “Weather Kitchen” at the beginning of the exhibition serves the purpose of explaining the scientific basics, in other words, the highly complex and reciprocal weather and climate systems on Earth.
An “Weather Studio” at the end of the exhibition introduces the techniques of forecasting short-term meteorological events and long-term climate developments. In addition, the project “Pilot Inklusion” by the Bundeskunsthalle offers interactive and multisensual stations throughout the exhibition dedicated to different weather and climate phenomena.