the prediction machine at loughborough library

The Prediction Machine is a new interactive artwork that marks ‘moments of climate change’ in our everyday lives, tracked and recorded by a machine that prints out predictions based on end of the pier fortune telling machines.

The Prediction Machine has been created by Rachel Jacobs, in collaboration with Matt Little, Ian Jones (Sherwood Wood), Matthew Gates, Robin Shackford, Juliet Robson, Dr Candice Howarth and Dr Carlo Buontempo, Lucy Veale, Upesh Mistry, Thomas Steffen, Chris Sweetman, Stephen Flood and John Barton, and the Craft Group and Writers Group at Loughborough Library. Developed with the ‘Performing Data’ research team at the Mixed Reality Lab/Horizon Digital Economy Research, University of Nottingham. With financial support from the Arts Council of England, University of Nottingham, EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account, EPSRC, RCUK and Radar LU Arts.

What is The Prediction Machine?

The Prediction Machine is devised alongside communities connected to the artist residencies, artists, climate scientists and researchers. The resulting artwork marks ‘moments of climate change’ in our everyday lives – snow on a summers day, the hurricanes, tornados and floods we’re getting like we’ve never seen in places we would never expect, 3 months of drought, 2 months of rain in half an hour, the apple tree that blossoms and fruits at the same time.

These are tracked and recorded by a machine that prints out predictions, based on vintage fortune telling machines.

The machine prints out a ‘climate fortune’ that visitors to the machine can take away with them. This will tell them whether a ‘climate change moment’ is likely to occur in the near future or give them a prediction for 30 years in the future and propose an action to do in response based on suggestions by the local community, in collaboration with the scientists.

Visitors to the machine will be able to send their own ‘promises, wishes and predictions’ which will inform future predictions.

How it works:

Use the small dial to put in your age.The hand crank powers the machine. Keep turning the handle to watch the messages and receive your prediction from the slot below…

The Prediction Machine tracks the local temperature, rainfall and windspeed live at a weather station on the Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham, this is combined with projected temperatures for the year 2045 and predictions written by local people. This data will be tracked and recorded by an online system the ‘Performing Data Toolkit’ that is connected to the machine, the machine then prints out the predictions based on this data.

Made from: Sustainable oak, steel, aluminium, printer, LCD screen, speakers, laptop, cables, adaptors, generator, bicycle chain, bicycle gears, mains electricity, ipad

Images of the artwork at Pilkington Library and Loughborough Library below are copyright of Julian Hughes


Rachel in her studio experimenting with the 'Climate Machine' a pervious artwork that burns C02 data into recycled paper

The Artist

Rachel Jacobs is an artist, consultant, researcher and co-founder of the award winning artist-led company Active Ingredient.The Prediction Machine has emerged from Active Ingredient’s previous project ‘Timestreams’.

Rachel is currently a part-time Impact Fellow at the Mixed Reality Lab/Horizon Digital Economy Research Hub at the University of Nottingham. Her area of interest is looking at how artists merge art, environmental science and technology through cross disciplinary collaboration and to ‘perform’ scientific data.

For more information about the artist click here

image courtesy of Primary Studios

The Prediction Machine Team

Matt Little – Engineer and Co-Design

Ian Jones, Sherwood Wood – Carpentry and Co-Design

Matthew Gates – Programming

Robin Shackford – Creative Programming and Artist Advisor

Juliet Robson – Creative Accessibility and Artist Advisor

Matt Watkins – Artist Advisor

Frank Abbott – Artistic Mentoring

Ravi Abbott and Noel Murphy – Artistic and Techinical Assistants

With support from Prof Steve Benford, Jesse Blum, Tony Glover, Lei Ye, Holger Schnadelbach, Paul Tennant (the Performing Data technical team at Mixed Reality Lab/Horizon), Viktor Huddleston and Estates, University of Nottingham.


Radar Loughborough University Arts

Horizon Digital Economy Research

Mixed Reality Lab

Nottingham Contemporary

Ongoing collaborations:

Dr Candice Howarth, Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University

Dr Carlo Buontempo (Senior Climate Scientist, MET Office UK Hadley Centre)

Silvia Leal (artist and curator)

Active Ingredient


The Prediction Machine weather station is powered by http://www.weather.dragontail.co.uk with thanks for all the support.

 The Prediction Machine funded by Radar Loughborough University Arts with support from the Geography Department at Loughorough University and the Arts Council of England.  The artwork takes place alongside a wider research project exploring the impact of artists’ engagement with scientific data at Horizon Hub and Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham.  Funded by the Arts Council of England, EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account and Horizon Digital Economy Research, RCUK.