Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, April 8 - Aug 28, 2011.
In Divining Meteorology, William Lamson explores the forces of nature and the passage of time, reanimating a former communications tower by transforming it into an instrument. Originally designed to withstand the trials of nature, this monumental tower was relocated from the Missouri countryside to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and re-engineered to fit inside the space, as if it had collapsed into itself. In addition, Lamson installed a system of speakers and resonators throughout the structure that receive the weather radio signal from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and allow him to play the tower as an instrument. By moving an electric guitar pickup across the metal structure, Lamson activates internal resonances within the tower that are both physical and acoustic. The resulting audio composition mixes recordings of the artists movements around and through the structure with the live weather radio broadcast. Like the shifting weather, the sound varies from extreme quiet to a vigorous crescendo. Lamsons repurposed tower radically reinterprets the weather conditions that the glass-paneled pavilion both reveals and protects against. Harnessing the imperceptible phenomena of a radio signal, the artist, rather than making its real-time weather report audible, translates the signal into a physical and resonant experience. With Divining Meteorology, Lamson has created an unlikely instrument whose totemic presence suggests an unknown mythology.