Residents of Brisbane have a complex relationship with weather. As the capital of the Sunshine State, weather is an integral part of the city’s cultural identity. Weather deeply affects the mood of the city – from the excitement of scantily clad partygoers on balmy December evenings and late February’s lethargy, to the deepening anxiety that emerges after 100 days of rain (or more commonly, 100 days without rain).
With a brief nod to the city’s – now decommissioned – iconic MCL weather beacon, Grateful Fateful Sunshine Rain taps into this aspect of Brisbane’s psyche with poetic, illuminated visualisations of real-time weather forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.
Each evening, the artwork downloads tomorrow’s forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology website. Data including, current local temperature, humidity, wind speed & direction, precipitation (rain, hail etc), are used to generate a lighting display that conveys how tomorrow will feel.
The artwork’s background colour indicates the expected temperature – from cold blues through mild pastel pinks and blues to bright hot oranges and reds.
White fluffy clouds roll across the artwork if cloud is predicted. The density of these clouds indicates the level of cover whilst movement indicates expected wind speed and direction. Clouds moving up the artwork show Southerly winds. Clouds moving left to right show Westerly winds. Brisbane’s prevailing south and north-easterly breezes move diagonally across the artwork from these directions.
If rain is predicted, sparkles of white light will appear on top of whichever background colour is chosen for the next day’s temperature. Sparkles appear constantly before wet, drizzly days, and intermittently if scattered showers are predicted. Intermittent, but more intense sparkles appear before rain storms or thunderstorms.
Cold days create chilly blue lights. Triangular cracks of icy white light move across the surface on very cold days, to mimic ice forming and cracking. What is ‘very cold’ is relative to Brisbane’s usually mild – warm weather. Unlike northern Europeans acclimatised to chilly temperatures, Brisbane residents may feel icy cold on days with a maximum temperature of 15 degrees. The ice pattern will trigger on such days when Brisbane residents take advantage of the rare opportunity to wear jackets – even if European tourists in the city are still wearing shorts.
On very hot days the light glows red-hot, and literally pulses. There is no way to acclimatise to these temperatures. It’s just plain uncomfortable.
This type of weather often brings severe storms to the city. Strong winds and destructive hail-stones can cause huge amounts of damage. The sky often turns an ominous shade of green before hail-storms. If severe storms are predicted the white sparkles that usually indicate rain are rendered in a bright, light green.
For the most part though, Brisbane is paradise. Perfectly positioned between the Coral and Tasman Seas, the city enjoys temperate breezes and big, blue skies almost every day. During autumn and early spring the city enjoys beautiful mild days, with refreshing breezes that are a joy to experience. This is our favourite kind of Brisbane weather, so we’ve made this lighting pattern especially beautiful. Soft, pale pastel aqua and pink background colours, with light fluffy slow moving clouds, reflect the feelings these days can bring.
All this information is summarised in the quick look up table below. Effects representing temperature, precipitation, wind and cloud data are overlaid to create lighting patterns that are unique each day.
- Very cold temperatures (max temp <10 degrees) – deep blue + patterns of white panels fading on and off
- Cold temperatures (max temp <16 degrees) – blue colour light
- Mild temperatures (18 – 26 degrees) – pale pastel aqua and pink light
- Warm temperatures (26 – 32 degrees) – light amber and pink light
- Hot temperatures (32 – 38 degrees) – orange, red and magenta light
- Very hot temperatures (38 + degrees) – red and magenta throbbing light
- % predicted cloud cover – correlates to amount of white cloud puffs. Note: % of artwork surface covered by white / grey cloud puffs is slightly less than the % cloud cover predicted to ensure that on days of 100% cover, the colours relating to predicted temperatures may still be seen.
- Speed of cloud movement – reflects predicted wind speed
- Direction of movement – reflects wind direction.
- A shower or two – intermittent soft sparkles of white light
- A few showers – intermittent soft sparkles of white light
- Thunderstorms – intermittent, intense sparkles of white light
- Drizzle – consistent, soft sparkles of white light slowly fading on and off
- Rain (heavier and for most of the day) – consistent, more dense sparkles of white light that fade on and off more quickly
Grateful Fateful Sunshine Rain is a Kuuki Production, realise by:
Concept – Priscilla Bracks & Gavin Sade
Visual design – Priscilla Bracks
Lighting design – Priscilla Bracks, Gavin Sade, Glen Wetherall
Programming – Gavin Sade and Glen Wetherall
Manufacturing – Albert Smith Signs Pty Ltd (acrylic front panels hand crafted by Michael Kouner)
Installation – State Wide Signs Pty Ltd
Project management – Priscilla Bracks