Friday, September 3, 2010

Pictures of Clouds

The swirling photos of Hurricane season remind me of the “Clouds” photo series by the ever inventive Vik Muniz. Back in 2000, the Brazilian-born Muniz launched a public art project to coincide with a show at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the premiere of a full-length documentary about his work. Four times during a six day period a skywriter drew a series of clouds over the Manhattan skyline using an outline of a cloud designed by Muniz.

Muniz's aesthetic involves using unusual materials to create portraits and objects which he eventually photographs. The result is never what it seems at first sight - he deliberately deceives the spectator's eye and forces him to look again.

The fleeting nature of skywriting isn't so different from the fluid nature of pictures on the internet, the drawing of a cloud where we would expect to see a real cloud, the digital image of a storm briefly but powerfully representing a real event. The image is not the object. The map is not the territory.

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