Dan Corson

Fitting, given the city’s reputation for actual clouds and cloud-based computing.

All right, let’s check this weekend’s weather forecast for Seattle ...

NWS Seattle

Hmmm. If there’s one thing the city needs, it’s more stormy weather. And Dan Corson has happily obliged with a new public sculpture that’s half clouds, half floating alien cyberslugs.

“Nebulous” is a continuation of the local artist’s mining of natural themes; he’s also created huge singing flowers under the Space Needle and street lights in Portland that look like groovy carnivorous plants. For this installation, located at Amazon’s campus in South Lake Union, Corson fuses the meteorological meaning of “cloud” with its 21st century, digital definition. He explains at Vimeo:

We are currently shifting from our analog hard copy world and local computer storage to “cloud-based” systems. The intricacy of these systems eludes most software users and yet clouds of electrons constantly transport information all around us. The two large forms above us, inspired by early digital rendering applications, float over the courtyard with two solar lighting shadows imbedded in the pavement below. Neither fully transparent nor fully opaque, these clouds have select glass discs shifting between levels of opacity in a digital dance resembling old school calculating computers or perhaps pulsing lightning within clouds on a stormy day.

The way the circular panels flicker at night gives the clouds the illusion of a dark intelligence, one that’s somehow connected to those glowing nodes in the pavement. Strolling underneath, people might wonder if they’re about to be blasted by a crackling bolt made of pure 0s and 1s. A few more views:

H/t Designboom

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

    New York’s empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities.

  2. A pink-shaded map of Los Angeles showing student debt burden
    Equity

    The Neighborhoods Buried In Student Debt

    How much of your paycheck goes towards student loans?

  3. Transportation

    A Bittersweet Ending for a Japanese Train Station and Its Lone Passenger

    On the island of Hokkaido, the Kyu-shirataki train station’s last remaining patron—a student—has graduated from high school.

  4. Transportation

    Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.

    The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated.

  5. Design

    A Step-by-Step Guide for Fixing Badly Planned American Cities

    An excerpt from Jeff Speck’s Walkable City Rules, a step-by-step guide to fixing America’s cities and towns.