Weather (Un)Control

November 12 – 16, 2013


Opening Reception: November 13, 7pm

At The Old School (233 Mott Street) Room 2.2 

Open 12pm – 6pm

Presented as part of Marfa Dialogues/NY



Ten percent of New York City buildings sustained storm damage during Hurricane Sandy. While billions of dollars have been spent on the recovery effort, the storm’s invisible effects still linger in the air. Health risks in the indoor air of buildings—in the form of mold and dust—are beyond the reach of health officials. After Hurricane Sandy, neither the federal nor the city governments monitored indoor air quality, relying mostly on air quality monitors on building rooftops, where the air is usually clearer. 

Weather (Un)Control refocuses attention on indoor air contaminants, particularly dust. The dust in these buildings—including asbestos, silica, and gypsum—was caused by the storm damage but substantially more by the rebuilding efforts that followed. The installation includes an indoor weather system generated by two forms of air contamination: dust and static electricity. Weather (Un)Control combines an artificial dust with static electricity to create a “dust wall”. Dust is charged with static electricity and creates drawings on a paper wall, highlighting a hidden risk of post-Sandy rebuilding: the more you “clean up”, the dustier it can become.


Since there are no government agencies monitoring indoor air quality, oversight has been left to the individual policies of insurance companies. Rather than conduct air quality tests, the insurance industry relies on visual inspection to determine contamination of the air as well as potential insurance risk. Weather (Un)Control highlights the inefficiency of visual inspection with “dust wall” drawings that remain invisible unless lit with ultraviolet light. The drawings are based on the air quality—both composition and particle count—of the displayed air samples. The captured air is from the Environmental Protection Agency’s post-Sandy monitor locations, including both outdoor locations and indoor air from nearby buildings. The air quality from the indoor samples has high levels of asbestos, silica, or gy­psum, which is the basis for the “dust wall” drawings. One side of the wall uses positive ions that attract dust to create the indoor air drawings; the other uses negative ions that repel dust to clean the wall. However, the negative ions in the “clean room” pass through the paper wall, causing even more dust to gather on the “dirty room” side. Weather (Un)Control reveals the cyclical and invisible nature of air contamination after extreme weather events, unseen and overlooked by insurance companies.



About MODU

MODU is an interdisciplinary architecture practice specializing in smart design that connects people. Based in New York with an associate office in London, MODU has completed projects in New York, Miami, Beijing, London, and Athens. Co-directed by Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem, the practice has won international design competitions and awards sponsored by the Beijing Architecture Biennial, Dumbo Arts Festival, Core77, Creative Time, Art Basel, and the Architectural League of New York. MODU was recently awarded a commendation in the 2013 “21 for 21,” an international award that recognizes architects who will “lead the next generation of architects in the 21st century.” MODU has also received research grants from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. Projects designed by MODU have been widely publicized in publications including the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, the Boston Globe, Domus, and Interior Design. MODU’s interdisciplinary approach has led to projects that bridge several disciplines of the built environment, from architecture to interiors to public installations.  Contact MODU at 212-343-4203 or


 Contact MODU at  212-343-4203  or .




This installation is part of Marfa Dialogues NY.  For more information visit .

Weather (Un)Control has been generously supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Founda­­­tion and the New York State Council on the Arts.  Engineering for Weather (Un)Control has been developed by Amanda Parkes/Skinteractive Studio