The Prediction Machine is an 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. Next to it stands the Promises Machine inviting you to write your own promise or wish for the future, find out more about the science behind the predictions and take part in the new addition, the Future Machine where you can sign up to receive messages from the future as your prediction unfolds.

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, Prof Rob Wilby and Dr Carlo Buontempo, Lucy Veale, Upesh Mistry, Thomas Steffen, Chris Sweetman, Stephen Flood and John Barton, and participants in all of the parallel workshops. Developed with the ‘Performing Data’ research team and Dominic Price 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 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 with a prediction for 30 years in the future, visitors are then invited to write their own promises or wishes for the future in response.

The predictions and videos on the screen are devised by participants in workshops that take place alongside the exhibition.

The Prediction Machine and Promises Machines by the window at Nottingham Contemporary

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 an Associate Researcher/Artist in Residence at the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham, and has a Doctorate in Computer Science. Her area of research focuses on 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, Dominic Price, 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) and Prof Rob Wilby (University of Loughborough).


 The Prediction Machine was originally commissioned by Radar Loughborough University Arts, with support from the Geography Department at Loughorough University and funded by the Arts Council of England, EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account and Horizon Digital Economy Research, RCUK. 

The artwork takes place alongside wider research exploring the impact of artists’ engagement with scientific data and the human data experience at Horizon and Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham.