Scenes from Toy Weather

“In the year of Our Lord 1055, on Sunday the feast day of St. George, the people of Rosdalla, near Kilbeggan in the present county of Westmeath, saw standing high up in the air, a great steeple of fire, in the exact shape of a circular belfry, or what we now call a round tower. For nine hours it remained the re in sight of all: and during the whole time, flocks of large dark-coloured birds without number kept flying in and out through the door and windows. There was among them one great jet-black bird of vast size … Sometimes a number of them would swoop s uddenly down, and snatch up in their talons dogs, cats or any other small animal that happened to lie in their way; and when they had risen again to a great height they would drop them dead to the ground. At last they flew away towards a neighbouring woo d; and the moment they left the tower it faded gradually from the peoples’ view. The birds perched on the trees, the great bird choosing a large oak for himself; and so great were their numbers that the branches bent to the ground under their weight. Th ere they remained for some time as if to rest; when suddenly they all rose into the air; and when the great bird was rising he tore the oak tree by the roots from the earth, and carried it off in his talons.”

The above quote is f rom The Wonders of Ireland by P.W.Joyce, “apparently being a compilation of accounts from sources such as the Chronicon Scotorum”. I came upon it while researching the weather. It reveals that it wasn’t so l ong ago that people explained phenomena, in this case a tornado, with images within their popular and mythological experience. (Virtual reality ?) The proscenium stage was the first big-screen multimedia environment. This traditional setting depicts events on a comput er monitor brought to life by multi-talented performers interacting. In other words a (living) simulation of a simulation. The whole point being: in the study of complex systems, where simple systems interact, the phenomenon of emergence occurs. Toy Weather is a metaphor for the virus of technology revealing new structures of popular thought and action; the butterfly effect in your living room. Clear ski es and smooth sailing to all.

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