CLOUD began as a large-scale interactive sculpture created from 6,000 light bulbs by Canadian artists Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett. The piece utilizes everyday domestic light bulbs and pull strings, re-imagining their potential to catalyze collaborative moments and create an experiential environment. As part of the process of building the sculpture, the artists collected burnt out incandescent light bulbs from the surrounding community, forging an informal relationship with non-artists, reducing costs, and asking audiences to reconsider household items in an alternative context. During exhibition, viewers interact with CLOUD by initiating impromptu collaborations, working as a collective to turn the entire sculpture on and off.
Simple, bright, and playful, CLOUD has unexpectedly become an icon of optimism and hope, illustrating by upturned faces, glittering eyes, and a whole that is greater than the sum of its many parts. As incandescent bulbs are phased out in the European Union and countries around the world, the sculpture gains new meaning as a beacon of transitional technologies and changing futures – where are we going next? On a more symbolic level, CLOUD relies on the universal language of environmental imagery – despite language barriers, cultural differences, and geographic distance, rain clouds are understood by people all around the world.
CLOUD was first created for Nuit Blanche Calgary (Canada) in September 2012. In early 2013, the artists built a second edition of the sculpture in Russia with assistance from Garage Center for Contemporary Culture as the centerpiece for Art Experiment 2013 (Moscow). Since then, the sculpture has shown at:
- Signal Festival of Light (Prague, Czech Republic)
- GLOW Forum of Light & Architecture (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
- I Light Marina Bay (Singapore)
- Lights in Jerusalem (Jerusalem, Israel)
- Czech the Light (various cities in the Czech Republic, 2014/2015)
- LUMINA (Cascais, Portugal, September 2014)
- White Night Kosice (Kosice, Slovakia, October 2014).
In 2013, CLOUD was short-listed for an Innovation by Design Award in New York City. According to estimates, CLOUD has been viewed in real time by over 1-million people.
In a similar vein, the artists designed and installed a permanent cloud-form installation in June 2013 in Chicago, USA. Entitled CLOUD CEILING, this rendition is installed in Progress Bar and utilizes motion sensors and over 15,000 light bulbs.
How CLOUD works: The hand-bent steel substructure of the sculpture is covered in a skin of incandescent light bulbs (new and burnt out), and rear-lit from within by 250 compact fluorescent bulbs, pulling a total power of approximately 20 amps (the equivalent of two household outlets). Each of these bulbs is attached to a pull-string, allowing viewers to control the illumination of the structure – like lightning in the CLOUD above them.
Sponsors of the FIRST EDITION of CLOUD: Alberta College of Art + Design, The Nuit Blanche Foundation, The City of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development Authority, Calgary Public Arts, Calgary 2012, and The Awesome Foundation (Calgary chapter).
Sponsors of the SECOND EDITION of CLOUD: Garage Center for Contemporary Culture and Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Thank you to Alberta College of Arts + Design and Wayne Baerwaldt or ongoing support.
Commissioner of CLOUD CEILING: Progress Bar, Chicago. Thank you to the amazing Progress Bar team for entertainment, many hands, and amazing donuts!
CLOUD Interactions: Audiences are invited to interact with CLOUD through simple participation: ON, OFF, PULL. The piece utilizes familiar domestic objects (everyday light bulbs and pull strings), functional items commonly known and understood. And yet, CLOUD’s form and brilliance appear to strike the viewer on a more internal level, allowing them to loiter happily, mesmerized by the glow of the bulbs above them. Sporadic collaborations occur as audiences struggle to turn off and on the entire sculpture at once. Participating with CLOUD is a collective activity.