Berndnaut Smilde - Making Clouds
A few onlookers hold their collective breath as Berndnaut Smilde pushes a remote control button to activate a smoke machine in the Green Room of the Veterans Building in downtown San Francisco. Billowing smoke forms a luscious, cotton candy-like mass in the middle of the Beaux-Arts chamber before it vaporizes into haze, casting a luminous complexion on the room. The Dutch artist’s work is defined by emphemerality, his delicate installations existing for a brief moment before they fall apart, often their only documentation in the form of a photograph. It is this in-between moment Smilde is interested in – the contrast of temporality versus permanence. “It’s not so much about the shape of the cloud but about placing it out of its natural context,” he says. “It brings duality, because you can’t really grasp how to interpret the situation you are viewing. People have always had strong metaphysical connections to clouds as they symbolize the ominous.” People’s fascination with Smilde’s clouds have only increased since TIMEmagazine listed them as one of the “Top 10 inventions of 2012".
Produced & directed by Julia Wilczok and Maria Judice / Filmed by Fridolin Schoepper / Edited by Konterfei / Sound by Kevin Pate / Music by Carlos Bruck / Special thanks to Meg Shiffler, James Baldocchi & the SF War Memorial and Performing Arts Center