Inigo Manglano-Ovalle

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle's "Weather Field" installation is designed to create a "microclimate" in the air.

Lots of artists want to change thoughts and opinions. Few try to change the weather.

Yet that's the task that Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle is proposing for a new public park in Santa Monica. The Chicago-based artist, a recipient of the MacArthur "genius grant," has drafted plans for a tall sculpture called "Weather Field" to stand in Santa Monica Commons, one of two yet-constructed green spaces designed by James Corner Field Operations. That company also designed the High Line in lower Manhattan, another park that is heavy on not-your-average public art.

The sculpture is a field of tall poles topped with spinning anemometers and little rudders or paddles. It looks like a forest of alien lightning poles. But it's in the concept that things get really interesting. According to the local Daily Press:

The weather instrumentation will move under the power of the sea breezes, each influencing the direction of the air like the runnels of the park itself to create a small microclimate in the air above the site.

Don't you need a permit for installing something that changes the weather? And what kind of microclimate are we talking about? Steamy? Dry? Sleety? Will there be any tornadoes involved?

In this case, there's not much of a concern. The weather-altering ability of this sculpture maxes out at making the air slightly more turbulent right around the installation. You might be able to notice it if you have extremely sensitive skin or have brought your own weather sock to test the flow. Of course, with the Butterfly Effect some might argue that "Weather Field" could be triggering volcanoes in Indonesia, but that'd be hard to pin on Manglano-Ovalle in a court of law.

Meteorology is a preoccupation of this particular artist. Other examples of his weather-work include "Climate," a piece that appears, just on first impression, to have little to do with the actual climate, and these metal prototypes for clouds.
 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Beverly Hills Has Financed Its Metro Fight With $13 Million In Local Taxes

    Instead of reconstructing aging school facilities, the district is using a voter-backed ballot measure to pay for a legal campaign against a subway extension.

  2. An Uber pick-up location in downtown Houston in 2017.
    Transportation

    Is Uber the Enemy or Ally of Public Transit?

    Depends on the city, and the transit agency.

  3. Life

    How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

    New York’s empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities.

  4. A vacant home on Milwaukee's north side.
    Equity

    Can Milwaukee Really Create 10,000 Affordable Homes?

    The city has an ambitious plan to fix its housing woes. But so far, most of development has been focused on the city’s downtown area.

  5. Transportation

    Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.

    The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated.