Atmospheric Memory

Sat 6 July, 2019

Sun 21 July, 2019

  • About the show
  • Reviews
  • Creative team

A breathtaking interactive art environment where you can see, hear and even touch the sounds that travel through the atmosphere.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Atmospheric Memory scours the sky for the voices of our past. Inspired by computing pioneer Charles Babbage’s 180-year-old proposal that the air is a ‘vast library’ holding every word ever spoken, Atmospheric Memory asks: was Babbage right? Can we rewind the air to recreate long-lost voices? And if so, whose would we want to hear?

An array of ‘Atmospheric Machines’ mine the air for turbulence caused by speech, then transform it into trails of vapour, ripples on water, epic 360-degree projections. These artworks are presented alongside a section of a Babbage Analytical Engine, a rare object in the prehistory of computing from the Science Museum Group’s collection.

Staged in a custom-built chamber, Atmospheric Memory explored the beautiful tumult of the air we breathe – and celebrated the transience of the sounds that fleetingly live within it.

For more information about the project visit the Atmospheric Memory microsite



Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Science and Industry Museum, FutureEverything, ELEKTRA / Arsenal Contemporary Art, Montreal, and Carolina Performing Arts - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Produced by Manchester International Festival and curated with FutureEverything and Science and Industry Museum. Supported by Wellcome.  Accompanied by an education programme supported by The Granada Foundation.

Photo: Miguel Legault Antimodulor


The Making Of Atmospheric Memory


Image Credits: Mariana Yåñez, Rob Connor

Spectacular An intriguing example of a new kind of experimental work that relates as much to science as what we conventionally think of as art

The Daily Telegraph

Defined by creative extravagance from the realm of dreams

Far Out Magazine

Inventive and provocative

Sunday Times

Visually arresting

New York Times

Visit the Atmospheric Memory microsite for full creative team info.