Wet Spells (2021)
Nottingham Contemporary (UK)
Our Silver City, 2094
November 20, 2021 – April 18, 2022
Artistic and Curatorial Team: Céline Condorelli, Femke Herregraven, Liz Jensen, Prem Krishnamurthy and Grace Ndiritu.

Wet Spells (2021)
A ghostly radio station broadcasting a five-channel sound piece including the voices of Nottingham children, responding to real-time data from a weather station installed on the gallery roof. Five sculptures made from paper mâché, metal and driftwood from the 2021 floods across Europe, and parachute cord. A vinyl weather notation system installed on the gallery’s window, skylight, floor and wall. A prediction circle comprising boulders, painted pebbles, and an ancient lead curse tablet (100 – 400 CE) from the Nottingham City Museum & Galleries collection.

Weather is cyclical. The cycle has changed, and we must change with it. Femke Herregraven’s installation explores the entangled histories and potential futures of weather forecasting. Wet Spells marks the stark disconnect between our physical senses on the one hand, and the abstract field of research into global climate changes by computational weather forecasting systems, which exist in complete isolation from our experiences and daily lives. By contrast, the work centers traditional methods of sensing where weather is assessed and predicted by an infinite amount of locally observed variables and physical experiences – historically, often jotted down in church archives, dating back some 800 years. This sound installation consists of sculptures with DIY-antennea, devices to receive and send out information, built with scrap materials such as driftwood from the 2021 heavy floods in the south of the Netherlands. The sculptures carry a five-channel sound work that contains a mix of sound recordings from Nottingham, human voices and technologically entwined relations, as it reconnects the current weather to our physical scale, our senses and our participation. Children’s voices cast ancient spells of weather lores – passed on traditional knowledge gathered by common people dependent on weather prediction such as sailors or farmers – while realtime weather data received by a small weather station installed on the gallery’s rooftop are sonified as playful chimes and mixed live into the sound composition.





Credits: Benny Nilsen for composition; James Brouwer for digital and sound production; Benjamin McMillan for his assistance developing the weather notation system; Tom Harris and Chris Lewis-Jones; Delina, Jorja, Lania, Lano, Marjaan, Melanie, Momar, Rohith, Rylan and Yonathan from Year 5, and Abdelmoamen, Chaice, Cherry, Dilatation, Estera, Ezza, Faith, Ghazal, Holda, Landlord, Lorayah, Loui, Naiyah, Rasan, Sahand, Sophia, Tiana, Tyler and Vanessa from Year 6 of Sycamore Academy, Nottingham for their contribution to the sound composition.
Commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary with the support of the Mondriaan Fund.