Artwork Detail

Weather Field No. 2
American, b. Spain, 1961
49 stainless steel poles, weather vanes, and anemometers
20' 1 7/8'' x 13' 9'' x 23' 7 1/2''
University purchase, Art on Campus fund, 2018
WU 2018.0009 a-ww
The kinetic sculpture Weather Field No. 2 by Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle was commissioned for Millstone Plaza, just north of Olin Library. The installation comprises forty-nine telescoping stainless steel poles of alternating heights, each supporting a weather vane and anemometer, ordered in a trapezoidal grid formation. Internationally renowned for his collaborations with climate scientists and engineers, Manglano-Ovalle often incorporates climate and various aspects of its elements into his work, such as pressure, temperature, precipitation, direction, and velocity. Many of his sculptures are also modeled on scientific data from such natural forms as storm clouds and icebergs. Weather Field is the second in a series of permanent installations by the artist that disengages the standard function of weather instruments, which is to accurately gauge wind direction and speed in response to prevailing wind conditions. The close grouping of the poles actually generates its own microclimate of turbulence and vortices as individual instruments react to one another—a phenomenon akin to the flocking of birds and schooling of fish. This adds a playful, poetic quality in contrast to the static installation of the poles in a grid. The use of serial repetition in the work employs a modernist artistic strategy, while its title suggests Walter De Maria’s monumental Land art installation in western New Mexico, The Lightning Field of 1977. Importantly, in its exploration of wind-generated movement, the work has a lineage with kinetic public sculpture, particularly the work of George Rickey, whose evocative, large-scale metallic artworks from the second half of the twentieth century advance a technologically driven abstract art while manipulating the physical world. Similarly, Manglano-Ovalle’s harnessing of the indeterminate qualities of weather and climate in Weather Field No. 2 exemplifies the artist’s exploration of the intersection of technology, science, and environmental concerns and their relevance today. [Cell phone tour, 2019]