Rob Davis

Huey-Dewey-Louie Climate Clock

- an homage to the film ‘Silent Running’

This is an ongoing collaborative work between Usman Haque, Haque Design + Research and myself.

As part of the Climate Clock Initiative this is a project to develop a long term publicly accessible measurement and recording system that tracks local and global climatic change. The aim of the project is to positively influence the way that we utilise energy and thus our impact on climatic change. The project is one of three finalists selected for FUSE residencies at the Montalvo Center for the Arts in 2009-2010 where the concepts proposed will be developed further.

Initial proposal of three processes involving the autonomous construction of new structures that encode climate data at various spatial and temporal resolutions


The project landscape will consist of a perimeter of 100 plinths to be sequentially filled by specimens of air and plant material, encircling a sequence of accretion mounds. Between these will roam a number of autonomous devices that will on a daily basis compact and encode climate data onto cubes of local material. Over time these features will build at various rates encoding both local and global variables and data concerning climatic change.

Accretion Mounds: Huey

Autonomously accreted daily from light & dark materials extracted chemically from the atmosphere, the thickness of each carbonised/calcareous layer is proportional to the degree of fluctuation of local environmental parameters, visible, like tree-rings, via colour gradations of the deposited material. The geometric trend of the stratigraphic conic structure is dependent upon measurements of climatic change so that, viewed from below, the sky is visible until its completion, at which point the date will indicate the relative 'health' of the global weather system - the later it closes each year the better the global ecosphere's 'health'.

An autonomous device constructs ascending columns of accreted material in a similar manner to that of solid object printing The geometry of accretion mounds will vary from year to year to indicate climatic 'health'


3m3 Samples: Dewey

Around the site will be 100 plinths onto which will be placed annually a sample of air hermetically preserved in a transparent box measuring 3m x 1m x 1m. At Year 0, 10,000 daffodil seeds will be cloned from a single genetic sample. Each year, 100 will be planted on site; at year-end, a single flower and 99 compacted into a block will be placed at the base of the sealed sample columns. The way this preserved plant material, genetically identical through 100 years, responded to its year’s changing climatic situation, and the air samples, will provide useful material for future analysis.

Sample containers placed annually to include 3 cubic meters of air and plant material preserved at its base


Cubic Data Packer: Louie

An autonomous machine, powered by solar panels & heat engine, grazes round the site moving 1 cm/day, guided by local temperature & wind conditions. It extracts local soil via helical blades & fuses this daily into small cubes, each face of which is stamped with a date & environmental or economic measurements chosen by daily popular public vote, including e.g. global CO2 level, atmospheric methane, rainfall, price of corn, or index of light crude oil and whatever contemporary humans determine to be important. The cubes through their encoded positions record both local & global daily environmental conditions.

Moving at a rate of around 1cm per day an autonomous device hydraulically compresses soil into cubes encoded with data by popular vote