CLOUD is an interactive sculpture created from 6,000 incandescent light bulbs by Canadian artists Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett. The piece utilizes pull chain switches and everyday domestic light bulbs, re-imagining their potential to catalyze collaborative moments and create an enveloping, experiential environment. During exhibition, viewers interact with CLOUD by initiating impromptu collaborations, working as a collective to animate “lightning” on the surface of the sculpture. As viewers move beneath the canopy of light bulbs, CLOUD reveals its substructure – its underbelly is industrial and utilitarian, built from structural beams, exposed electronics, and imperfect, hand-bent steel. This “reveal” breaks the illusion of delicacy and lightness characterized by the outside aesthetic of the artwork. Similarly, participating viewers realize that the surface of incandescent light bulbs is only a diffusion layer, filtering bright white light from LED bulbs beneath. The materiality of CLOUD speaks to a broader conversation about domestic waste and the mass of insignificant objects in urban spaces. As incandescent bulbs are phased out in the European Union and various countries around the world, the sculpture gains new meaning as a beacon of transitional technologies and changing futures – where are we going next?
Simple, bright, and playful, CLOUD is a barometer of social interaction, collaboration, and collective action, reflecting a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. As viewers engage with pull chains, they become unwitting performers and puppeteers, orchestrating an uncertain spectacle for viewers outside the work. Subsequently the “inner” and “outer” spheres of the artwork pose different dynamics, inviting both participation and contemplation, spectacle and speculation, collective and subjective, harmony and chaos. Characterized by upturned faces and glittering eyes, viewers engage with the work long after all its secrets have been revealed. On a 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.
The first edition of CLOUD was commissioned for Nuit Blanche Calgary in 2012. A second edition was commissioned by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art for Art Experiment 2013 (Moscow).
The first edition of 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). In 2013, CLOUD was shortlisted for an Innovation by Design Award in New York City.
- Nuit Blanche Calgary (Calgary, Canada)
- Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia)
- 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 Czechia, 2014/2015)
- LUMINA (Cascais, Portugal)
- White Night Kosice (Kosice, Slovakia)
- Gent Lichtfestival (Ghent, Belgium)
- Spotlight Festival (Bucharest, Romania)
- Bella Skyway (Torun, Poland)
- Maintenant Festival (Rennes, France)
- Lumiere Durham (Durham, UK)
- LUX Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland)
- Temporarily Visible, Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis, USA)
- Free State Festival, Lawrence Art Center (Lawrence, Kansas, USA)
- Balta Nakts Riga (Riga, Latvia)
- Nuit Blanche Winnipeg (Winnipeg, Canada)
- White Night Bratislava (Bratislava, Slovakia)
- SPECTRA (Aberdeen, Scotland)
- Enlighten (Canberra, Australia)
- Joondalup Festival (Joondalup, Australia)
- Strand Ephemera (Townsville, Australia)
- Canada Scene, National Arts Centre (Ottawa, Canada)
- Red Earth Festival (Karratha, Australia)
- Cidneon Internazionale Delle Luci (Brescia, Italy)
- FestungsLeuchten (Koblenz, Germany)
- The Cloud Atlas, Fondation Francois Schneider (Wattwiller, France)
- Enchanted Gardens (Arcen, Netherlands)
- Essen Lichtwoken (Essen, Germany)
- Nuit Blanche Edmonton (Edmonton, Canada)
- Lumiere Durham (Durham, UK) – Returning for a “Best Of” Edition
- Internationaal Lichtkunstfestival Kasteel (Doornenburg, Netherlands)
- COLLUMINA (Cologne, Germany)
- Internationaal Lichtkunstfestival (Zeist, Netherlands)
- Schloss Dyck Light Festival (Jüchen, Germany)
- Constellations Festival (Metz, France)
- Timewalk Myeongdong, JN Gallery (Seoul, South Korea) – 1 year exhibition
- Gent Lichtfestival (Ghent, Belgium) – Returning for the 10th Anniversary Edition
- Timewalk Myeongdong, JN Gallery (Seoul, South Korea) – 1 year exhibition (continued)
- RéfleXion(s) (Strasbourg, France)
- Signal Festival X (Prague, Czechia) – Returning for the 10th Anniversary Edition
- Chroniques (Aix en Provence, France)
- Timewalk Myeongdong, JN Gallery (Seoul, South Korea) – 1 year exhibition (concluded)
- Umbra Festival (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain)
- KooHouse Museum, Curated by JN Gallery (Seoul, South Korea)
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.
Sponsors of the THIRD EDITION of CLOUD: Signal Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. Commissioner of CLOUD CEILING: Progress Bar, Chicago. Thank you to the amazing Progress Bar team for entertainment, many hands, and amazing donuts!
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.
70 thoughts on “CLOUD”
Appreciate it from Clonmore 😉
What a good idea! And seeing this cloud in France would be an honor, children would play down below this cloud and would be sensibilized by this cloud and what it represents.
Hey Caitlind and Wayne. I’ve given your blog a Liebster Blog Award because I think this is the most beautiful thing ever, for real. Check it out: http://ohmypotluck.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/the-liebster-blog-award/
In your desperation to create ‘art’ you’ve created harm to nature.
Hi Roanna, thanks for your message regarding CLOUD. Dark Sky policy is something we’ve certainly learned much about since 2012 when we first designed the piece. Incidentally, we’ve made work specifically addressing Sky Glow, and you can read some of our research here: https://incandescentcloud.com/2017/01/03/streetlights-sky-glow.
Urban light and darkness is definitely a concern we consider carefully. In relation to CLOUD, this sculpture is a temporary artwork, sometimes installed indoors and sometimes outdoors. The piece is never displayed outside for more than 2 weeks. The light from CLOUD comes from 170 individual 7W LED light bulbs, their light diffused through the skin of 6000 burnt out bulbs (otherwise garbage). When every bulb is turned on, the total light output is less than 2 street lights (400W equivalent HPS). The diffusion layer of frosted light bulbs also spreads the field of light, significantly limiting the upwards distance light from the piece can travel. It is not (as some people assume) 6000 incandescent bulbs burning in the night. For comparison, we would estimate that the light emitted is less bright than car headlights – which are ubiquitous in most Western nations. Compared to the light of cities, the artificial light emitted by CLOUD is nominal and transient — a temporary drop in the bucket of our profoundly over-lit civic spaces.
Nonetheless, we appreciate your note. We deeply agree that natural darkness is undervalued. The impacts of light — particularly in the blue or cool white spectrum — are increasingly alarming, both for animals and people. In some respects, we have moved further away from “light art” in the last few years because of this. You might be keen on seeing our ongoing series of works exploring The Deep Dark: https://incandescentcloud.com/2015/12/09/the-deep-dark-in-dawson-city/ and https://incandescentcloud.com/2016/01/31/night-blind/ and https://incandescentcloud.com/2021/10/25/night-watch/.
Anyway, apologies for such a long response to your brief note. This is obviously an issue we’re passionate about, and we didn’t want your comment to be ignored.
Thanks for engaging in conversation.
All the best,
Caitlind & Wayne