loading video...

kinetic installation 'weathering with us' explores narratives of healing amid climate crisis


kinetic installation inspires positive action to tackle climate change


conversations around climate change are often highly pessimistic, with new scientific data leading to despair and defeatism. what has been less prioritized is how the information relates to us — a report on the communication of the climate crisis cites that ‘we have gotten too lost in the data, the fear, and the need to tell people how bad things are’. with eco-anxiety on the rise, this approach of relentless data dumping can stand in the way of meaningful citizen participation.


‘weathering with us’ by isabella ong and tan wen jun explores narratives of healing and recovery in the climate conversation. the project is an exercise on data visualization that takes on the form of a sand-plotting installation, which prompts us to consider how climate information can be effectively communicated to inspire positive action while rendering visibility to carbon mitigation technology.

weathering with us 1
weathering with us installation
all images courtesy of khoo guo jie, isabella ong



creating mandala-like patterns to symbolize recovery


in ‘weathering with us installation’ by isabella ong (find more here) and tan wen jun (find more here), a mechanical beam sits atop a bed of sand, inscribing patterns into the sand as it rotates. the sand is ground olivine, a green volcanic mineral that is found abundantly in the earth’s subsurface. when seawater meets olivine, a reaction occurs that pulls carbon dioxide out of the air. this process —mineral weathering—constitutes one of the earth’s natural mechanisms to regulate its carbon level.


the patterns are generated from open-sourced climate datasets (carbon emissions, meteorological data, energy use, twitter sentiment on climate change, sea-level change) which are then translated into visualizations to represent collective action. seen from above, the rotating installation creates mandala-like patterns in the sand. the mandala is a spiritual symbol in eastern religions, used during meditation to help with healing. in this way, the form and material of the installation become a symbol of recovery and restoration, an important aspect of climate action that is all-too-often overlooked.

weathering with us 2
the rotating arm is driven, through a 3D-printed pulley system, by a large DC motor and houses 10 wooden scribes, each attached to a servo motor



the installation is designed to function as a round table that encourages meaningful discussion between visitors. with healing as its centerpiece, it is hoped that the work will inspire conversations on climate change that focuses on hope and recovery. ‘weathering with us’ bridges the knowledge gap between climate science and citizen awareness, highlighting this important research to a broader audience.


this project was inspired, in part, by the ambitions and efforts of project vesta, a non-profit working to further the olivine science of coastal enhanced weathering (CEW) as a carbon capture technology to help mitigate climate change. the fabrication of the installation was done in collaboration with roger&sons, a local studio of ethical carpenters who utilizes abandoned logs that have been salvaged from trees felled for urban development in singapore. the installation was constructed with the intention of using sustainably sourced materials, as much as possible, and to highlight the beauty of local, alternative materials.


kinetic installation 'weathering with us' explores narratives of healing amid climate crisis
close-up of scribes


weathering with us 4
scribe patterns generated by climate datasets superimposed over collage of eco-anxiety


weathering with us 5
olivine sand and research on enhanced mineral weathering

kinetic installation 'weathering with us' explores narratives of healing amid climate crisis
early sketches of electronic components


project info:


name: weathering with us
artists: isabella ong and tan wen jun
fabrication: roger&sons



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom

suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom





a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999