Patricio Dávila, Hector Centeno, Immony Mèn and Dave Colangelo
The Bentway Conservacy, Toronto, Canada

What can the wind teach us about our city’s infrastructure and our own needs for comfort? Atmospheres manifests this powerful force into a series of soaring soft sculptures, sound, and video that both generates and visualizes environmental data collected under the Gardiner.

While we know we can’t see the wind, it’s possible that we can hear, see, and feel the effects of it: the howl as it blows through the trees, the kite flying across the field, or the refreshing breeze that cools you down on a hot day. But what does this natural force have to teach us about our city’s infrastructure and our own level of comfort, especially along such a unique urban corridor?

Atmospheres is the second phase of Adaptive Artifacts, an interactive art and technology project that explores how environmental conditions such as wind, temperature, and humidity impact human comfort in public spaces. As a site of active urban transformation, The Bentway’s unique microclimate presents an opportunity to investigate our unique weather patterns, and their impact on the visitor experience.Atmospheres makes manifest the wind through moving physical sculptures, video, and a generative audio composition that uses environmental data collected from The Bentway site. Visitors are invited inside a viewing and listening station, an immersive space that distances the visitor from the wind and intense urban environment, so that they can examine these conditions re-imagined as audio and video. Outside, hanging above and along this urban corridor is a series of soft sculptures that move with the wind. Their movement is monitored and combined with both realtime and historical weather data to produce a data stream, while visuals and soundscapes are presented in response to this data stream. Through this multi-sensory experience, this invisible natural force is made visible, and visitors are invited to contemplate the unique power wind, temperature, and sound play in shaping perceptions of comfort in public space.