The Stunning Life-Sized Cloud Made of 6,000 Bulbs

January 8, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

A "cloud" of lightbulbs
Photo credit: whistlepunch/flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It is considered an “icon of hope.”

This beautiful light, inspired by the night skies of Alberta, Canada, was developed by Calgary-based artists Caitlind R.C. Brown and Wayne Garrett.  It is named CLOUD, and it resembles a life-sized cloud built from 6,000 incandescent light bulbs and 1,500 pounds of steel.

It was built in 2014 in time for the eight-hour Nuit Blanche Calgary exhibition.  What makes the fascinating piece of artwork different from most is that Brown and Garrett wanted guests to hang out beneath the cloud and pull on the chains that light up the bulbs — creating both an immersive and spectacular experience for both participants and those watching.

The artists used light bulbs as a “skin” for the art piece — for both their ability to diffuse light and their everyday, mundane status — using both working and burnt out bulbs to create a thunderstorm effect.

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According to Brown and Garrett’s website, CLOUD started as a study of light and “its magical ability to create ephemeral space, its resonance in the darkness, and its societal importance [...] We use artificial light in cities as a language (green means go), to the point where it is now socially intuitive. The value of artificial light is especially pronounced in places where electric light has been lost, or never existed at all.”

The piece of art was a huge success during Nuit Blanche and there was not a moment when the space beneath the cloud was empty.  Not only that, CLOUD has been making its way to several museums around the world, including Russia, Czech Republic, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore and more.  

A Canadian ambassador at the Moscow Garage Museum of Contemporary Art called CLOUD “a happiness machine,” since it brings people together.  Brown and Garrett call it an “icon of hope, optimism, and collective action.”

Watch this short video showing people truly enjoying the CLOUD experience.


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