Cyanometers have been color-coding the sky since the late 18th century, however Martin Bricelj Baraga’s sculpture adds a really modern twist. Located in the center of Ljubljana, Slovenia, the monolithic structure blends art and science, measuring the blueness of the sky looking really stunning. Not only does cyanometer periodically capture images of the sky and measure them against the 53-shade color wheel toward the top of the structure, it uses the data to imitate it, changing color to blend in with the sky. Day and night, cloudy or bright, its reflective surface shines for passersby in the various shades it assumes.
The simple device was invented in 1789 by Swiss physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt who used the circular array of 53 shaded sections of dyed paper, arranged in a circle from white to black by way of different shades of blue, in experiments above the skies over Geneva, Chamonix and Mont Blanc. The Cyanometer helped lead to a successful conclusion that the blueness of the sky is a measure of transparency caused by the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.
Like a traditional cyanometer, Baraga’s sculpture, which is more than 3 meters tall, is also a scientific instrument. From the blueness of the sky it determines the air quality in the area, which is affected by the presence of moisture and particles in the atmosphere. A nearby Environmental Agency of Slovenia measuring station assists the sculpture in collecting this data and determining its exact nature. The cyanometer then sends the information to a website and displays it, along with the temperature, on its own surface, with air quality measured on a color scale that goes from red to green.
The cyanometer in Ljubljana was installed in the town’s pedestrian zone in 2016. It is a new nonument from the Nonument series – a series of Martin Bricelj Baraga’s futuristic, sci-fi and utopian installations and objects in public spaces. The sculpture is made of glass and stainless steel and powered by solar panels, which means not only does it power itself in the center of Ljubljana, but it could do the same anywhere in the world.
Slovenia’s capital city has been working toward becoming as green as possible for the past 10 years, and it was named the European Green Capital of 2016. This makes it perhaps the best place for such an installation, a device that judges how is clean the city’s air.
Images from Web.