Cloud

Credit:
Matt Kenyon

Exhibited:
Re-New, Copenhagen, Denmark
Strange Weather, Science Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
MOCAD, Detroit, Michigan

In Cloud, soft, house-shaped extrusions are lofted into the air from a cart positioned on the gallery floor. The box is white and so are the clouds. Their timing is irregular. They do not billow so much as they discharge like soft serve—they emerge from the funnel reluctantly and slightly deformed. At a moment of heightened anticipation, a metal armature slices through the foamy stream, lopping another cloud skyward.

Cloud is a work in which the artist materializes an abstract reality through means that are simultaneously both succinct and witty. In this piece, local housing data comprises an input variable that controls the timing of cloud generation. As real estate consumption intensifies, so do the size and frequency of clouds. Using a special surfactant infused with helium and air to lift the clouds upwards, they hold against ceiling, aggregating into an ephemeral composition of house-shaped figures. Then slowly, as the helium euphoria fades, the houses descend back to earth.

Taken as an aphorism, Cloud demonstrates the cyclic nature of real estate speculation that prospers even in the wake of the most recent housing bubble. The houses, and the home ownership aspirations that are inflated with them, rise only to eventually fall. Yet, in the continual reconstitution of the large cloud’s form, the artist also acknowledges the fundamental connection between the domestic abode and its neighborhood, one that persists, and is always in flux.