Artangel has long been one of our favourite British arts organisations, known for their early commissions of future art superstars (see Steve McQueen, Rachel Whitread, and so many more). Their ephemeral exhibitions can last an evening, to several months and we're in luck, as their latest is an on-going installation that will go well into 2023. We sent Eva Pramschufer out to discover more about it and report back to us. Here she goes!:

"London made every effort to set the scene for my visit to the “A Thousand Words for Weather” exhibition - serving up gloomy, grey skies and a fearless wind whipping through the treetops.  But the blow was set to silent upon stepping into the quiet of the Senate House Library. What better place to indulge in the world of sounds than in a place as quaint as a working library set within one of the most impressive Art Deco buildings London has on offer.  Libraries are not usually the heart of "sound" given all the "Don't disturb" signs traditionally in place!

I felt like Alice following the white rabbit (aka the green arrows of the exhibition that lead you through the exhibition that sits within the working library) into the Art Deco building. Climbing the marble staircase, you're taken by surprise by the sounds that could best be described as raindrops tapping on the windows – yet the sounds were softer, expanding, vibrating. So even as you start, you are already immersed into the exhibition through audio.

As I found my way through the maze, between chesterfield sofas and rows of antique books, I discovered little acoustic havens. Some took shape in headphones hanging near windows overlooking the gardens, some took form in one of the many reading rooms' little breakout rooms.

Rhythmic steps on marble floor, dry bristling of leaves, sounds of splashing water. Putting on the headphones meant immersing oneself into an acoustic wonderland. These soundscapes are the work of the Taiwanese-Canadian writer Jessica J. Lee in collaboration with sound artist Claudia Molitor.  Every listening booth contains a different multi-lingual auditory experience. The artists asked poets to talk about the weather in their native languages - so English mixes with Arabic, Bengali with Spanish, French with Mandarin. Each word was then translated to another ten languages, thus creating a dictionary of a thousand words for weather.

The result is a beautifully layered, shared language that helps to describe the evolving environment we find ourselves in. Climate change, isolation of countries, alienation – “A Thousand Words for Weather” is meant to show commonality rather than division, an opportunity to reconnect with each other as we all seem to go through terrible heat waves and weather warnings en masse. The weather changes and so does the world we live in.

The artists cleverly connected their pieces with a display of weather-related books from the library, where you could see on display a copy of “The Weather Book” from 1863, to drawings and weather reports from the 1800 from Robert FitzRoy, the inventor of a storm warning system that was the prototype of the daily weather forecast. To note: forecast terminology has come a long way from FitzRoy’s description of the weather as 'fine'!

Time seems to flow differently on the top floor of the building, as I curled up in the upholstered bay windows, watching the wind pile up leaves and rattle the glass-paned windows, all while listening to the hypnotic sounds of its data-converted counterpart. Whether you decide to linger on the top floor and have a look through the arched windows, or you visit the “dictionary room”, where you can read the translation of the words on a white board against the backdrop of Bloomsbury’s rooftops, this exhibition is a maze through sound and words and a hideout right in the busy heart of London.

“A Thousand Words for Weather” is part of a new alliance of artists and writers called the “World Weather Network”, initiated by Artangel and 28 cultural organisations around the world. If you want to listen in yourself, catch the exhibition until the 25th March, 2023. I suggest coming here on a gloomy day, alone, with lots of time to get lost."