“A History of the Sky” for an entire year


SAN FRANCISCO “A History of the Sky – by the artist Ken Murphyis a dynamic, time-lapse visualization of the sky for an entire year. Time-lapse movies give us a glimpse of events that are continually occurring around us, but far too slowly to observe directly. This “history of the sky” reveals the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.


An image of the sky have been captured every 10 seconds from a camera installed on the roof of The Exploratorium – Museum of science, art, and human perception, on the edge of San Francisco Bay. Each day’s images have been assembled into a time-lapse movie. The final piece consists of a large mosaic of 365 movies, each representing one day of the year, arranged in order by date. The days all play back in parallel, so that at any given moment, one is looking at the same time of day across all of the days.

The next step has been to build the display: a set of HD monitors (or possibly projectors) have been arranged side-by-side, to produce a huge panoramic view. This way viewers are able to stand back and observe the atmospheric phenomena of an entire year in just a few minutes, or approach the piece to focus on a particular day. With this display, “A History of the Sky” have been shown at many and various events.

Here is the latest full-year version of “A History of the Sky” (the artist suggests watching it in full-screen HD mode):

A History of the Sky from Ken Murphy on Vimeo.


“A History of the Sky” is a project funded by Kickstarter (it successfully raised its funding goal – $3,578 – on Jun 19, 2010). More information, including technical details, can be found here: www.murphlab.com/hsky. About the author: Ken Murphy is a musician, programmer, artist, and tinkerer living in San Francisco. Here his website: www.murphlab.com.

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