Ljubljana, May 2016

Baraga : CYANOMETER – A Monument to the Blueness of the Sky


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The cyanometer was invented by Geneva-based scientist Horace Benedict de Saussure in 1789. He systematically documented the blueness of the sky with his cyanometer, which was a simple circular tool with 53 shades of blue. He concluded that blueness is influenced by both moisture and the amount of suspended particles in the air.

The art installation Cyanometer by Martin Bricelj Baraga, located in Ljubljana city center, is inspired by the original cyanometer. De Saussure’s cyanometer forms the core of the monument, gently directing our gaze back to the sky.

The monolith gathers data of the blueness of the sky and the quality of air and visualises them, thus becoming an instrument which raises awareness on the quality of a crucial element of life. In a cloud based world, the only clouds that really matter are the ones in the sky.

Cyanometer: How blue is the sky today? from MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art on Vimeo.


The Cyanometer is both a monument and a software that periodically captures samples of the sky. These are then translated to one of the 53 shades of blue, thus creating a special blueness archive joined with air quality data on the Cyanometer website. There, users can also read the exact air quality measurement data for each parameter.

Being powered by solar panels, the Cyanometer is a self sustainable organism which can be fully functional in any remote natural habitat. In Ljubljana, the Cyanometer gathers air quality data from the EARS Ljubljana Bežigrad measuring station.

The Cyanometer displays the air pollution level on a color scale from red to green and points out the main pollutant in case of pollution in real time.