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The Burn Time device travelling back to Nelson Cathedral Steps where it will be recording sunshine

Date: Saturday, 30th November 2019 – Mid January 2020

Location: Nelson Cathedral Steps

Sunshine captured in analog at mall

A vacant shop has been turned into space for a Victorian-era machine that records daylight hours to take the spotlight – or sunlight.

The Burn Time exhibition has been in Dunedin for the past two weeks and its centrepiece is a replica of a Victorian meteorological machine called the Campbell-Stokes recorder.

Artist Vicki Smith, of Hari Hari, on the West Coast, said she instigated the creation of the piece after a discussion about the lensing effect of glass in the sun.

“As an artist I am interested in how art can open conversations about our place in the environment.

“The only actual moving part of the whole thing is the earth we exist on, so to get people thinking about that and our footprint on the planet is important.”

Ms Smith and artist Anthony Genet, of Nelson, travelled to Dunedin with their replica of the recorder.

When the sun hit the device – made of recycled brass, copper and parts of an old boat – a piece of card marked with the hours of the day burned slightly, recording how many sunshine hours were in the day.

“It’s a time-stamped measure of the sun shining.

“Each day a meteorologist replaces the card and physically counts the record of the sunshine hours.

“Some meteorologists think that this is the only real way of recording sunshine.

Ms Smith said the purpose of the exhibition in Dunedin was to gather local impressions of sunshine and engage visitors in thinking about the changing climate.

“We hoped to get people interested in the device and what it does.

“We’ve had hundreds of people through these doors so I would say it’s been successful.”

The exhibition was set up in partnership with the Dunedin Dream Brokerage and the Meridian Mall, where is was installed.

The Burn Time device will then travel back to Nelson, where it will begin recording sunshine on the Nelson Cathedral steps.

Credit: Emma Perry,

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