Wind und Wetter by Sissel Tolaas
For the hill of rubble in the east of Messestadt - the future Rodelberg (tobogganing hill) - Tolaas devised a temporary artistic landmark that takes as its point of departure the suburb's former use as an airport. The plan and working of the airport were determined by the single prevailing wind that blows here and by current weather conditions. Hence, the two bottom storeys of the control tower housed a branch of the German Meteorological Service, which continually monitored developments in the weather. Guided principally by the need for adequate air circulation, the planners made the course of the former runway a determining factor in the urban fabric of the new suburb. In doing so, they documented the direction in which aeroplanes used to take off.
Tolaas's Messestadt work was originally intended to be in place from September 2000 to the summer of 2004, but its installation has been vetoed by the local landscape architect and it will not now be realised at all. In the project, Tolaas draws attention to the presence of the wind and to our wish to harness it to our own needs. Wind is to be converted into a source of energy that, as might be expected with this artist, will generate information on the wind itself and on other aspects of the weather.
At the eastern edge of Messestadt Tolaas planned to
set up a fully fledged wind power station comprising
a wind turbine some thirty metres high and with a capacity
of kilowatt hours. The artist herself chose the Rodelberg
as a suitable site because the hill, some twenty metres,
is clearly visible at its location some distance from
the residential areas, because its proportions are harmonious
and because it is ideally exposed to the wind. The power
produced by a commercial three-blade turbine was to
be transmitted via the electricity mains to three points
in Messestadt. At each of the three locations, all within
sight of the turbine, a glass booth was to be erected
and equipped with integrated lighting and telecommunications
systems. In these booths, when the wind was blowing
and thus generating electricity, anyone could access
information on the local weather provided by the German
Meteorological Service. The information offered by the
wind in this way was to cater for such special concerns
as forecasts relating to agriculture or winter sports
and the latest pollen count.