It’s the end of another long evening at Progress Bar where CLOUD CEILING is forming slowly above us. As we drove home along the shore of Lake Michigan, we watched the glittering pillars of downtown Chicago pass by the windows, contemplating the project with sleepy satisfaction. We are far from being done – the next week is going to be extremely busy – but as we teeter between one challenge and the next, we’re having a chance to reflect on the awesomeness of working in this particular environment, with this particular team, building this particular project. And all of this is pretty damn satisfying.
Thanks to a new legion of helper guys and/or gals (depending on who you ask), CLOUD CEILING is blossoming, bulging, and beginning to illuminate. Beyond the project itself, however, we’re beginning to develop a real understanding of Chicago, one sub-sect at a time (beginning with Boystown!)
Despite frequent visits to our friendly neighbourhood macro-sized hardware store, material explorations continue to progress with the project. Our current challenge is making sure the chicken wire shape-holder isn’t too visible between bulbs (which was never an issue with previous CLOUD projects because their interiors were always visible and actively incorporated into the project).
CLOUD CEILING needs a certain amount of glitz – it needs to stand up to visitations by hundreds of regulars at Progress Bar and the careful scrutiny of prolonged contact. Basically, because CLOUD CEILING is serving both as a large-scale custom artwork and a light-feature, the installation will be evaluated by the same standards as an industrially created chandelier. The piece will be appraised as if it could have been created by a multi-million dollar company with carefully honed mass-production techniques rather than a duo of artists with their newly trained gang of Boystown bulbers. But this is the greatest challenge of all – how do we make CLOUD CEILING so dazzling and magical that it seduces the viewer into completely overlooking tiny mistakes? Or, better yet, that it seduces the viewer into celebrating imperfections as signs of the artists’ hands at work?
The real satisfaction today came at the end of a long evening of hanging bulb skins and filling holes. We turned off the lights to do one last lighting experiment, and David flicked on the interior lights behind the Onyx bar… Ah, yes. What is Progress if not satisfying?