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Climate Simulator

A photographic series, which involves modelling atmospheric optics (for instance rayleigh scattering, tyndall effect etc.), as well as other atmospheric physical processes (such as cloud formation, air currents etc) using very minimal equipment – a plain white lightsource, a fish bow or tank, water, a colloidal substance and a camera.  Climate Simulator combines simple scientific experiments with techniques used in film before the development of CGI. Through this novel project, the macro conditions that lead to the colour of the sky, weather conditions, and other atmospheric phenomena are physically modelled. By controlling temperature, density, motion, light intensity & viewing angle; various images that mimic Earth’s atmospheric conditions are created. In other instances the captured images are the result of sheer chance.

This project aims to demonstrate how the interaction of a few simple elements can produce a huge range of outcomes, as seen in the chaos of weather and other natural systems. The project also aims to reflect the increasing presence of climate change in the collective psyche. The title of each photograph is named after the natural phenomenon it resembles.

All modelling in these photographs is physical – no coloured studio lighting, and minimal digital intervention is used. The project was first conceived in 2013 and developed further in 2017.

Project selected for the Antarctic Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale for Art, 2017.
Video filmed on location in the College of Science, University College Dublin in 2017.
The recreation of a method to observe ‘Couette flow,’ a physical manifestation of mathematical models of circulatory motion in fluids. The model is used in the study of atmospheric movement on Earth and other planets. The machine was made with the help of Peter Kinsella at Modern Engineering, Dublin, 2017.