Donald Fels, Andrew Schloss and Dale Stammen
Ballard Branch, Seattle Public Library
5614 22nd Ave. N.W.
Libraries for All Bond 1% for Art
Donald Fels, Andrew Schloss and Dale Stammen built upon the unpredictable weather characteristic of the Northwest in two artworks that convert weather information into visual and auditory patterns.
Devices mounted on the library's roof collect and interpret environmental data via a complex computer program that responds to climatic change, triggering LED displays and live and recorded audio. Weather Permitting uses the collected data to create an image on LED displays inside the library of the motion of air molecules flowing across the roof. Flow, the audio-artwork in the adjacent Neighborhood Service Center, responds to changes in the weather by selecting different combinations of sounds from hundreds recorded in the Ballard area. These include train whistles, surf, dogs barking, boat and vehicular traffic, children playing, and real time rooftop audio from a hydrophone (an underwater microphone submerged in a vessel on the roof).
The artists were inspired by the unpredictability of weather and the library's function as both a repository and generator of information. The subtly powerful works bring the natural environment to the attention of library patrons and exposes them to a new artistic experience each time they visit the library.