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Wind und Wetter by Sissel Tolaas

For the hill of rubble in the east of Messestadt - the future Rodelberg (tobogganing hill) - Tolaas devised a temporary artistic landmark that takes as its point of departure the suburb's former use as an airport. The plan and working of the airport were determined by the single prevailing wind that blows here and by current weather conditions. Hence, the two bottom storeys of the control tower housed a branch of the German Meteorological Service, which continually monitored developments in the weather. Guided principally by the need for adequate air circulation, the planners made the course of the former runway a determining factor in the urban fabric of the new suburb. In doing so, they documented the direction in which aeroplanes used to take off.

Tolaas's Messestadt work was originally intended to be in place from September 2000 to the summer of 2004, but its installation has been vetoed by the local landscape architect and it will not now be realised at all. In the project, Tolaas draws attention to the presence of the wind and to our wish to harness it to our own needs. Wind is to be converted into a source of energy that, as might be expected with this artist, will generate information on the wind itself and on other aspects of the weather.

At the eastern edge of Messestadt Tolaas planned to set up a fully fledged wind power station comprising a wind turbine some thirty metres high and with a capacity of kilowatt hours. The artist herself chose the Rodelberg as a suitable site because the hill, some twenty metres, is clearly visible at its location some distance from the residential areas, because its proportions are harmonious and because it is ideally exposed to the wind. The power produced by a commercial three-blade turbine was to be transmitted via the electricity mains to three points in Messestadt. At each of the three locations, all within sight of the turbine, a glass booth was to be erected and equipped with integrated lighting and telecommunications systems. In these booths, when the wind was blowing and thus generating electricity, anyone could access information on the local weather provided by the German Meteorological Service. The information offered by the wind in this way was to cater for such special concerns as forecasts relating to agriculture or winter sports and the latest pollen count.

Summer 2000