With your Head in the Cloud

The cloud as a metaphor of the internet is ubiquitous today. From Amazon cloud server services to Apple’s iCloud. The term was first used in telephony and then it started to be used for the internet as well. However, the idea was already present in Douglas Parkhill‘s 1966 book, The Challenge of the Computer Utility, in which he sees computation being provided as a utility.

Clouds have been inspiration for artists, like Diller + Scofidio, who in 2002 created the tensegrity structure Blur for the Swiss Expo 2002 on Lake Neuchatel. This pavilion was made to resemble a cloud, spraying water at high pressure from 31,400 jets with tiny apertures. The original project included a LED text “forest” inside and was supposed to be a metaphor of the Internet.

Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde has also used clouds as inspiration, in his installations “Nimbus” and “Nimbus II”. He manages to create real clouds inside buildings.

My article With Your Head in The Cloud takes a look at clouds in all their forms.

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