Janet Zweig’s art installation, Climate Clocks (Abstraction Devices), consists of three wall-mounted, kinetic sculptures. The installation is inspired by the artistic tradition of fore-edge painting where decorative scenes are painted on the edges of book pages. Each sculpture, comprised of a huge wheel of paper, is mounted to the wall on a primary hub that links to a secondary hub with a motor that slowly pulls the paper onto it. Painted on the face of each wheel of paper is an image depicting a scene from San Diego’s ecology. As the secondary hub accumulates the paper, each traditional landscape will unwind into a beautiful abstract image on the fore-edge of the secondary hub and figuration will become abstraction.
Each of the three sculptures functions as an ecological “clock” using scientific data to determine the rate of its rotation. The pace of the paper’s transfer from one hub to the other varies for each sculpture. Zweig worked with local scientists to determine rates of change to the ecologies depicted, including changes to local reservoirs, sea-level, and canyons. Each sculpture’s motor is timed to correspond with this scientific data in real-time. The artwork is a poetic record of changes to our landscape.