The project is part of the austrian contribution "After Abundance" in the London Design Biennale 2018.
In this installation, visitors are transported to an Alpine landscape reshaped by climate change, where human ingenuity and interspecies solidarity offers the key to survival. It is shown how local communities confront new challenges with tradition and technology, using craft and cunning to thrive in an altered terrain.
Our glimpse of possibility for an after abundant Austria is called „Illegal Rain”. It is set in a world where technology has advanced to a very sophisticated level. At the same time, climate change has left its scars in Austria and the locals are fighting against its consequences.
Rendering of the installation at the London Design Biennale, 2018
Permanent droughts and heatwaves have caused natural water reservoirs to vanish almost completely and the land has become impossible to farm. Under these circumstances, the government took over the monopoly right on rain. They control the weather and trigger rain on chosen areas by burning Silver Iodide with Acetone and its smoke binds air humidity. This process is called “Cloud seeding”, an already existing technology, practiced by Austria and many other countries to prevent hail.
After conceptualizing this broad scenario of a water scarce Austria, we tried to find one narrative perspective that would touch upon and reflect all aspects of this future we thought are inspiring and intriguing. We gathered our thoughts and constituted a story.
The next step was to establish an equally touching and vivid exhibition environment to tell the story. It came naturally to us that the typical Austrian Stube with a dining table is the perfect fit for our intentions.
The Stube’s characteristic furnishing and everyday objects of a living space builds up the emotional connection to this Austrian family. By adding a twist to these objects and decors we bring in the rain making aspect and leave clues for the visitors to explore.
Family pictures on the wall and illegal ingredients for Silver Iodide in the foldable bench seats. We want to create credibility by putting attention and effort into details, without becoming kitsch.
Picture of the Installation at the London Design Biennale, 2018
The centerpiece of the installation is the huge, disassembled weather hacking drone on the dining table. Its appearance brings in the suspicious element to the cozy Stube and arouses visitors’ curiosity.
Designing this drone was, therefore, essential for the whole project. We researched the technical components of an actual rain-making machine, the amount of Silver Iodide needed to effectively generate rain and the aerodynamic aspects, so we know that the weather hacking drone could fly. At that moment it felt as if our narrative became reality. Now not only on an emotional level but also the technical solutions showed us that our first fictional idea was more realistic than we thought.
3D model of the drone
The curtains of the room are drawn to set a mysterious mood. Yet not fully closed, letting you peek through to see two different weather situations, rain in one and sun shining through clouds in the other. In the sunshine window, drones fly underneath clouds, burn Silver Iodide and create rain.
From the rain window, the soft sound of dropping rain blends together with voices coming from the radio and build a pleasant soundscape. The report from the radio gives information on the current governmental system and a journalist portrays his experience of a journey to this particular region of Austria. He tells his observation when looking over the shoulder of father Krainer and his daughter made illegal rain.
A tiny version of our "Stube" can be viewed at the cabinet of consequences, at the design lab of the Museum of Applied Arts Vienna.
in collaboration with Lucy Li