Mutable Matter of the Week: Indoor Clouds


Image Source: Probe.

I haven’t attended to the ‘Mutable Matter of the Week’ section of the blog for a while, so I thought I’d post another example today: Man-made clouds. While man-made clouds have entered the mass-media through stories about geo-engineering plans, they have also entered the art world. They appear to come in two varieties: figurative and literal. The figurative clouds range from the more humble painterly renditions and snow globes to giant mushroom clouds and entire cloud cities.The literal clouds are constructed from similar materials to their natural counterparts and are therefore also characterised by their limited duration. Berndnaut Smilde, architect of the above image, comments in the Washington Post: ‘It’s there for a brief moment and then the cloud falls apart. It’s about the potential of the idea, but in the end it will never function.’ Whether or not this statement also applies to geo-engineering, we shall see. For the moment, it seems valuable to follow the question posed by the snow globe producers of ‘Weather Permitting’: ‘if your environment is an experiment, what kind of experiment do you want it to be?’

PS: Just got reminded to include the man-made clouds of architecture projects such as Diller & Scofidio’s Blur Building and Transsolar and Tetsuo Kondo’s Cloudscape. And, there is, of course, the previously mentioned Nanotechnology Ice Cream Cloud project. Feel free to post more examples in the comments!

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