Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cloud Nein?

by Drew Martin
A shared photo on Facebook caught my eye this morning as I was scrolling through recent posts on my phone.

Arthur Lam, a Hong Kong-based artist/writer/curator, alum of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the administrator of ArtCanChangeTheWorld posted a picture of a cloud suspended in the middle of a large room with arched windows (detailed shown here, top). His post included the text:

By balancing temperature, humidity and lighting, Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde created a cloud in the middle of a room.

The photograph has the sensibility of a Magritte painting but also looks like an image that would end up on an inspirational poster with a heavy, black border anchored with a word such as "Faith."

At first, I was not interested as to whether or not it was real. I liked the idea of it being a conceptual project that would still give someone who experienced it through media a real sense of its volume, its ephermeralness, and its beauty. But then I clicked on the image.

The photo has been shared more than 2,700 times, and liked more than 2,500 times. Lam's post had about 100 comments. These ranged from appreciative wows to humorous retorts such as "What's he smokin?" Several comments
cried "fake!" and had explanations of why you could not make a cloud in a room, or how it must have been created in Photoshop. A whole range of human emotions were played out in the string of brief comments and Smilde's cloud captured it all, the way a natural cloud captures moisture.

Smilde's work is no hoax. He achieves the affect by spraying the air with water and then introduces a quick puff from a fog machine. The lighting of the room is essential to this series.

Click here to visit Smilde's site to see more of his work.
Click here to see a YouTube video create a cloud.