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The Tipping Point

“The Tipping Point” is commissioned by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre as part of the SciArt Resonances IV program.


NaturArchy, iMAL, Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology – Koolmijnenkaai, Belgium (May 24, 2024)


The Tipping Point” is a data-driven light and sound kinetic installation of 24 custom metronomes and a video projection. The artwork highlights the urgency and the increased risk that one or several tipping elements in the climate system might cross a critical threshold, resulting in severe consequences for the global climate, ecosystems, and human societies. The movement of the metronomes is driven by various environmental data connected with the five major climate tipping points.

The installation runs in five different thematic circles. Each circle focuses on a different climate tipping point, and the data that is used to drive the metronomes is connected with either the cause or the effect of the particular climate change.

The datasets utilized in the installation encompass data from the early 20th century to the present day, extending even into the future through projection models. Embarking on a temporal journey from the past to the present and onward to the future, the installation dynamically mirrors this progression. The tempo of the metronomes’ beats synchronizes with the fluctuating values of the data, gradually intensifying over time. Initially tranquil, the soundscape evolves into a cacophony, reflecting the mounting urgency of the climate crisis. Abruptly, all metronomes halt, plunging the space into a deafening silence that signifies the critical tipping point that has been reached.

The artwork’s title, “The Tipping Point,” is singular rather than plural. It does not refer to climate tipping points, but to the tipping point that we are approaching as a society. Scientists have worked for years to persuade us of the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to act. We, the artists, are joining forces with the scientists, using different means to make this message even stronger. My aspiration is for the visitors to the installation to realize that now is the time to take collective action, pressuring governments and corporations to change their policies and business practices. As Robert Swan said, “the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

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