Climate Chambers I
In Climate Chambers I, five sculptural chambers encircle a centrally located inflated incubator in a quasi-molecular formation. Visitors enter a series of room-size sculptures, through revolving doors. Once inside, they are buffeted by climatic extremes—100 percent humidity; temperatures ranging from minus twenty degrees Celsius to seventy degrees Celsius; wind blowing at fifteen meters per second.
The project tests the boundaries between experience and endurance. Usually a room dedicated to displaying art is a neutral space without any atmospheric shifts; here, that concept is challenged.
What happens when a sculptural room performs a function beyond its formal features? Can cold or heat be a quality used in art in the same way as paint or clay? And what happens to the perception of visitors when the climatic intensity takes over the senses? Does this alter the reading or experience of the art? Who stays in the installation when the seemingly comfortable situation slowly turns into a threat?
On entering the chambers, different substories emerge. Each room presents its own dramaturgy: in Heat Chamber, a stainless-steel capsule with glowing infrared heaters is suspended on an inflated base, creating an image of a futuristic ice breaker that melts its surroundings instead of using physical force. Four white penguins in gothic niches stand in juxtaposition: the animals are chilled by an interior fluid which makes the humidity of the room condense on their surface; they appear to be sweating in the heat.
Freeze Chamber looks like a padded cell in silver-gray plastic. In the corner is a cryogenic bed onto which visitors are invited to lie down and rest. White nylon shelves on the surrounding walls hold small sleeping bags sewn in the form of butterfly cocoons. When entering Steam Chamber, a greenhouse constructed of topographically rendered sections, the audience is faced with a rusty rhinoceros spewing steam from open body parts. Here, the animal has mutated into a machine that generates the climate that is a prerequisite for all life—but also a killing, corrosive force.
In Storm Chamber, a visitor can climb onto a sculptural stage that might best be described as the eye of the storm: the wind can reach speeds of fifteen meters per second. Generated by huge fans placed outside the chamber, the wind blows through funnels in the spiral-shaped walls—the shell, with its connection to the ocean, has become a cylindrical wind tunnel. One chamber is dedicated to light—not in itself a climate, but the premise for all climates and weather movements on earth. In this chamber, the visitor becomes a performer as the central lighthouse sculpture projects a beam of light around the walls. When it turns off, the phosphorescent walls glow electric green, leaving a dark shadow of what might have been in the way of the sweeping light beam—often visitors themselves. The shadowy human shape evokes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, as well as the outlines burned onto walls that trace the figures of people subjected to nuclear bombs.