It’s a spectacular irony. Despite the fact that most of us live our lives indoors bathed in climate-controlled perfection, we’re constantly obsessed with the weather. Will it rain? Will it be hot? Will that storm system halfway across the country drop our temperatures by five degrees for two hours next week? We need to know.
The Weather Yesterday is an absurd response to our own absurdity. It’s a 16-foot electronic sculpture by London studio Troika that, without fail, will tell the world what the weather is one day after it could possibly matter. They built the sign by hand, using LED bands to create CRT-like lines within Weather Channel-like iconography.
“Working within the ‘restraint’ of using LED strips allowed us to create imagery that was unique rather than cold and anonymous,” writes studio director Conny Freyer, “and allowed for a nice reference to an aesthetic we know from the digital/virtual realm, ‘pasted’ into the ‘real world’.” Indeed, the result is a fantastic, new aesthetic riff: purposefully low fidelity sunshine and clouds that distract you from the real, far more beautiful sunshine and clouds directly overhead.
“We would like people to gather around the sculpture and enjoy the park as much as get talking…And from what we can see, the weather is a guaranteed topic for small-talk,” Freyer writes. “Hopefully many more conversations will come from that, whether they be about memory, our consumption with the future (or the past), our disconnection from nature, our obsession with trends, information sharing, thinking ahead, distribution of intrinsically meaningless information…”
And, as an inevitable punchline to its own joke, The Weather Yesterday will inevitably spark a conversation about the weather yesterday, all while inducing the sudden realization: “There’s actually no (other) good way to look up the weather from yesterday. It sure is handy that this sign is here!”