Weather Glass or Crystal Ball?

Mapping the weather in art and science.


The invention of the crystal ball as well as of the weather glass are expressions of human curiosity and of the need to understand and to predict environmental conditions. They are two ways of investigating the world around us, both of them aiming to open up life and the world, and both of them conveying a story about the interconnection of art and science.

Scientists and artists capturing the weather – this is one of the elements that this project builds on. An approach that also takes into consideration historical pictures telling us about weather conditions in former times and about traces of the human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems. And yet, it is also a project about contemporary conversations about contemporary weather, and about the urgency of re:understanding and re:enforcing that there is no life without weather and there is no living without climate.

Weather Glass or Crystal Ball? is a research project organized by the Goethe-Institute in Glasgow, Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm with the aim of setting up an interdisciplinary laboratory to investigate how we experience and communicate about weather and climate change.

The year-long project includes ongoing artistic research, the installation of a network of SenseBoxes across Europe, and a series of public events: a hackathon in Glasgow (November 2020)a digital expert discussion with author/curator Jens Hauser and artist/researcher Laura Beloff in Oslo (September 2021)  a day of Climate Talks with a range of expert guests from the fields of science, humanities and arts in Stockholm (September 2021)  nd a 3D video installation by artists Finn Arschavir, Jens Evaldsson and Rut Karin Zettergren during the world climate summit in Glasgow (November 2021).


Weather Glass or Crystal Ball? is a research project funded and designed by Goethe-Institute and curated by LABLAB.


Weather Glass or Crystal Ball? 

Climate talks (on site + online)

22nd of September 2021

Goethe-Institute Schweden, Bryggargatan 12 A, 111 21 Stockholm


In the project ‘Weather Glass or Crystal Ball? Mapping the Weather in Arts and Science’ we are looking at how weather and climate are experienced and how we communicate about them. After a hackathon with researchers and artists in Glasgow in November 2020 and a conversation between the artists Jens Hauser and Laura Beloff on 16 September 2021, the participants of the ‘Climate Talks’ will explore how we tell ourselves about the world in view of climate change: Which narratives allow us to gather strength to do what is necessary?

The conversations will revolve around the climate as an emotional, holistic, and artistic narrative. An artistic performance will conclude the discussions.

‘Crystal Ball or Weather Glass? Mapping the Weather in Arts and Science’ is a regional project of the region Northwest Europe (Goethe-Institute in Sweden, Glasgow, Norway, Denmark) 2021 and is the result of a collaboration between the Goethe-Institute Glasgow and the Goethe-Institute Sweden.

Moderation: Svante Helmbaek Tirén


10:25 – 11:30 

Climate as an emotional narrative

Conversations about climate change often get emotional when we reach the point of discussing what individual countries or individuals should or should not do. News of weather disasters such as droughts and floods also trigger strong emotions, but fear makes us weak. How can we face the frightening reality of the changing climate whilst we gather strength for a new beginning? 

Anke Fischer, University of Agriculture, Uppsala

Emotions in ambivalence and conflict within and between us

Kata Nylén, psychologist, author and co-founder of “Klimatpsykologerna” (psychologists with a focus on climate issues) 

Climate narratives from a psychological perspective


11:45 – 13:00

Climate as a holistic narrative

We live in a world whose rhythm is hardly determined by nature anymore, but by the demands of a global economy and consumer society instead. Most of our environment is now made by, or at least significantly influenced by humans, and geared towards the optimal use of nature as a resource. Could a holistic understanding of nature and the world help us to find a way out of the climate crisis?

Friedrich von Borries, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg (online). School of No Consequences 

Isabel Löfgren, Södertörn University 

Narratives to Postpone the End of the World 

Janna Holmstedt, National Historical Museum Sweden
The hyperlocal and the planetary, finding the knotted sites 

Moa Sandström, Umeå University

We Speak Earth – human/nature reciprocity and consent in Sámi artivism 


14.00 – 15.30

Climate as an artistic narrative

Art gives us the opportunity to see the world with different eyes, to discover new means of experience and expression that would otherwise have remained concealed in everyday life. Art is polyphonic, its strength lies in its openness. How can that contribute to rethinking our attitude towards the world? How can it touch individuals and invite them to engage in a common cause?

Leonie Licht, University of Applied Arts, Vienna (online)

Art is science, or how else should we depict the weather?!

Daniel Urey, LABLAB think tank, Stockholm

Clouds & Clouds 

Andres Veiel, film director, Berlin (online)


Jens Evaldsson, Rut Karin Zettergren, Finn Arschavir

Artist team of the project ‘Crystal Ball or Weather Glass?, Stockholm/Glasgow

When fungi speak about the weather…..


15:30 – 16:00

Alison Scott, artist and writer, Glasgow (online)

Can we talk about the weather? (Performative lecture)

Finn Arschavir about climate, weather and mushrooms


„Even the word nature is problematic, as it conceals the damaging division between human and the non-human.” In this visual format, artist and designer Finn Arschavir addresses the ecological crisis, human intervention in the environment, and the dimensions of climate and weather.



Daphne  Springhorn:

Julia Kothe:

Daniel Urey: