Whithervanes are weathervanes for the twenty-first century, tracking and measuring the “climate of fear” on the internet. Installed on three rooftops in Miami, these 4ft-high, internet-connected sculptures inspired by the story of Chicken Little, come to Locust from the Detroit-based hybrid design studio rootoftwo, headed by Cezanne Charles and John Marshall.
Whithervanes consists of three headless chicken sculptures, sited on rooftops in the Design District, MiMO, and Downtown, all networked via the Internet of things and programmed to run away from the fear “in the air” at any given moment. Their software looks for predetermined keywords related to fear (e.g. natural disaster, economic collapse, war, etc.) in newsfeeds from Reuters.”When fear is encountered, the chickens respond by rotating at increasing speeds and are illuminated in different colors based on the Homeland Security threat level warnings. The passers-by and the general public is invited to influence the direction and color of the sculptures by adding to or decreasing the ambient fear in the system by Tweeting #keepcalm or #skyfalling to the @Whithervanes account, or by visiting www.whithervanes.com
The initials for the “Neurotic Early Warning System” are, of course, a nod to the cardinal directions, and the cartoonish 21st-century weathervanes add a bit of humor to the real fact that contemporary media, policy and political frameworks utilize fear as a persuasive method. Whithervanes playfully remind us that how we react to the fear-mongering in the data stream that infiltrates our lives is up to us, we can keep calm or Chicken Little it.
3852 North Miami Avenue,
Miami Fl 33127