In recent decades, meteorological stations across the Alps have recorded a declining amount of snowy days — a phenomenon that goes hand in hand with growing rates of glaciers melting in the region.
In an effort to raise awareness about global warming and the existential threat it poses, artist and sculptor Iwo Borkowicz has created Snow Guarantee — a seven-meter-tall, functioning, weather station, covered in 23-carat gold. The sculpture, which is an actual, working weather station, is situated within the alpine mountains of Austria, in Bad Gastein.
The art piece is connected to a network of more than 250,000 weather stations all around the globe. It supplies data to an open-source meteorological database, helping users understand the climate better.
The sculpture features both sensors and symbolic elements. The sensors monitor useful meteorological data such as wind speed and direction, UV radiation, temperature, rainfall, humidity, and air pressure. At its top, the sculpture has a weather vane shaped like a dodo — a bird species famously wiped out by humans.
However, the sculpture also features more positive symbols, like a tribute to human motivation and resilience in addressing the climate crisis in the form of a 1:1 replica of a wind sensor installed by Alpinists and scientists on mount Everest in 2020.
For thousands of years, gold has been synonymous with value. Crowns, wedding jewelry, awards, and important statues are covered in gold in numerous cultures around the world. Gold is also associated with the wisdom of aging and fruition: a person’s more successful years are considered ‘golden years’; the fiftieth wedding anniversary is ‘golden’; the height of a civilization is referred to as a ‘golden age’. “Only important things are golden. It’s for us to say what is important.” says architect Iwo Borkowicz.