A Variability Quantifier (The Fogo Island Red Weather Station)
A collaboration between the National Gallery of Canada, Fogo Island Arts and artist Liam Gillick
On view until October 2026
Today Fogo Island Arts (FIA) announced a new weather station on Fogo Island by artist Liam Gillick as part of the World Weather Network (WWN), a ground-breaking constellation of “weather stations” located across the world in oceans, deserts, mountains, farmland, rainforests, observatories, lighthouses and cities. WWN is comprised of artists and writers from twenty-eight arts organizations from across the world.
Liam Gillick’s A Variability Quantifier (The Fogo Island Red Weather Station), 2022 is an artwork intended to function as an operational weather station for Fogo Island. It gathers local weather data and is a place for education, reflection, and discussion. The site and work are open and people are encouraged to visit the weather station.
This work is being acquired by the National Gallery of Canada as part of its National Outreach initiative generously supported by Michael Nesbitt, in which artworks from the collection are sited and maintained at localities across the country. The work will be displayed on the island through October 2026, with stewards throughout this period generously supported by Steven & Lynda Latner.
“Fogo Island has a front-row seat on the Labrador Current for observing changes to events such as the annual passage of icebergs in ‘Iceberg Alley’,” said Nicolaus Schafhausen, Fogo Island Arts. “With approximately 40% of the world’s population living in coastal communities, monitoring the changing weather in these communities is becoming increasingly critical.” Claire Shea, Fogo Island Arts, added “It also could function as a site for school visits to further the understanding of the role that scientific modelling and data gathering play in relation to climate.”
“Art has always been used to understand and elevate our environment. This project brings together so many new perspectives that will accelerate critical thinking about our current crisis. I am interested in the science of the climate crisis. My project is to collect data to feed into the global system. I always want to accentuate the clear maths and science that have long proved the catastrophic changes that we all face,” said Liam Gillick
“My father used to say in the seventies that the winters were changing. He used to say winter would come and stay all winter, now, one day it’s -20 and the next day it’s +10,” said Fogo Island resident, Norm Foley.
“We are excited to collaborate with Liam Gillick and Fogo Island Arts on this innovative program,” said Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Manager National Outreach, National Gallery of Canada. “As the first of a series of National Outreach activities, this project supports ways in which art can be used to educate, engage and inform. The local connections developed through initiatives like this are invaluable to the mandate of the Gallery.”
Offering different ways of looking at, listening to, and living with the weather, writers and artists’ weather reports will be shared on the World Weather Network platform from each location: the Himalayas, the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq and the desert of the Arabian peninsula; the Great Salt Lake in Utah and the “Great Ocean of Kiwa” in the South Pacific; “Iceberg Alley” off the coast of Newfoundland, the waters of the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Circle; a tropical rainforest in Guyana and farmland in Ijebu in Nigeria. Artists and writers are working in observatories in Kanagawa in Japan and Manila in the Philippines; looking at cloud data in China and lichens in France; lighthouses on the coast of Peru, the Basque Country and the Snaefellsness Peninsula in Iceland; and cities including Dhaka, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London and Seoul.
A Variability Quantifier (The Fogo Island Red Weather Station), 2022 is curated by Claire Shea and Nicolaus Schafhausen of Fogo Island Arts in collaboration with Josée Drouin-Brisebois of the National Gallery of Canada.
For media only: For more information, images, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Senior Officer, Media and Public Relations
National Gallery of Canada
Senior Communications Manager
National Gallery of Canada
Fogo Island Arts
About the Fogo Island Weather Station
With advice from partners in the local community, Liam Gillick developed A Variability Quantifier as a 2/3 scale model of a typical fishing stage structure, commonly found on Fogo Island. The structure is a framework for scientists and local community members to add meteorological instruments that are helpful in measuring and tracking local weather. It helps monitor changes connected to an increasing experience of the climate crisis. The interdisciplinary nature of this project takes this discussion out of an often-siloed sphere into new networks of visibility.
The structure is maintained as a site for measurement and experimentation. The base-level operation is a remote autonomous weather station gathering local climate data and sharing it online. The site is also used as a lab for the introduction of new monitoring and measuring equipment and specific targeted experimentation. As the project develops and local needs emerge, additional information will be garnered. The structure is RAL 3020 red, a colour Gillick often uses to indicate the tension between a functional framework and an artwork, integrated yet separate from its surroundings.
Gillick’s project for Fogo Island develops his interest in the origins of understanding climate science that has been present in several of his works. In recent years he has made specific reference to the work of the eminent Japanese-American climatologist Syukuro Manabe. Manabe, along with his colleagues, developed refined mathematical tools to model the atmosphere in the mid-1960s.
About Liam Gillick
Liam Gillick is an artist based in New York. His work exposes the dysfunctional aspects of a modernist legacy in terms of abstraction and architecture when framed within a globalized, neo-liberal consensus, and extends into structural rethinking of the exhibition as a form. He has produced a number of short films since the late 2000s which address the construction of the creative persona in light of the enduring mutability of the contemporary artist as a cultural figure. Margin Time (2012) The Heavenly Lagoon (2013) and Hamilton: A Film by Liam Gillick (2014). The book Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820 was published by Columbia University Press in March 2016. Gillick’s work has been included in numerous important exhibitions including documenta and the Venice, Berlin and Istanbul Biennales—representing Germany in 2009 in Venice. Solo museum exhibitions have taken place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate in London. Gillick’s work is held in many important public collections including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Over the last twenty-five years Gillick has also been a prolific writer and critic of contemporary art—contributing to Artforum, October, Frieze and e-flux Journal. He is the author of a number of books including a volume of his selected critical writing. High profile public works include the British Government Home Office (Interior Ministry) building in London and the Lufthansa Headquarters in Frankfurt. Throughout this time Gillick has extended his practice into experimental venues and collaborative projects with artists including Philippe Parreno, Lawrence Weiner, Louise Lawler, Adam Pendleton and the band New Order, in a series of concerts in Manchester, Turin and Vienna.
About Fogo Island Arts
Fogo Island Arts (FIA) is a contemporary arts and ideas organization on Fogo Island, located in Newfoundland & Labrador, on traditional Mi’kmaw territory and the ancestral homeland of the Beothuk.
Founded in 2008 as an artists residency program, Fogo Island Arts was created with the conviction that art and artists have the capacity to instigate social change and offer new perspectives on issues of contemporary concern. By facilitating collaborations and connections between a local and international network of practitioners and thinkers, Fogo Island Arts aims to provide relevant insights on questions of human relationships with place, nature, financial capital, and one another.
Fogo Island Arts’ residency program has grown into a full program of exhibitions, public programs, publications and focused research programs including the Fogo Island Dialogues and Summer Workshops, all of which aim to bridge connections between local and wider global communities.
Fogo Island Arts is a charitable program of Shorefast, a registered Canadian charity with the mission to build economic and cultural resilience on Fogo Island, making it possible for local communities to thrive in the global economy.
About the National Gallery of Canada
Ankosé — Everything is Connected — Tout est relié
The National Gallery of Canada is dedicated to amplifying voices through art and extending the reach and breadth of its collection, exhibitions program, and public activities to represent all Canadians, while centering Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Ankosé—an Anishinaabemowin word that means Everything is Connected—reflects the Gallery’s mission to create dynamic experiences that open hearts and minds, and allow for new ways of seeing ourselves, one another, and our diverse histories, through the visual arts. The NGC is home to a rich contemporary Indigenous international art collection, as well as important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian and European Art from the 14th to 21st centuries. Founded in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for more than a century. To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. #Ankose #EverythingIsConnected #ToutEstRelié.
About the World Weather Network
The world’s weather is not what it was. We see glaciers melting and water levels rising. Some lands are flooded and others are parched. Everywhere is heating up. Formed in response to the climate emergency, the World Weather Network is a constellation of weather stations set up by 28 arts agencies around the world and an invitation to look, listen, learn, and act. From June 21 2022 to June 21 2023, artists, writers and communities will share observations, stories, reflections and images about their local weather, creating an archipelago of voices and viewpoints. Engaging climate scientists and environmentalists, the World Weather Network brings together diverse world views and different ways of understanding the weather across multiple localities and languages. To learn more, visit the World Weather Network platform: www.worldweathernetwork.org
32 DEGREES EAST, Uganda
ARTINGENIUM, San Sebastián
ART JAMEEL, Dubai
ART SONJE CENTER, Seoul
BUNDANON, New South Wales
DHAKA ART SUMMIT, Bangladesh
ENOURA OBSERVATORY, Japan
FOGO ISLAND ARTS, Newfoundland & Labrador
FONDAZIONE SANDRETTO RE REBAUDENGO, Torino
HOLT-SMITHSON FOUNDATION, New Mexico
ICELANDIC ARTS CENTRE, Reykjavik
IHME HELSINKI, Helsinki
KHOJ, New Delhi
NGO and POOL, Johannesburg
NICOLETTA FIORUCCI FOUNDATION, Grasse
RUYA FOUNDATION, Iraq
SOPHIA POINT, Guyana
TERRA FOUNDATION, Comporta
TE TUHI, Aotearoa / New Zealand
UCCA, Beijing / Qinhuangdao
YINKA SHONIBARE FOUNDATION, Lagos / Ijebu