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Heather and Ivan Morison: The Black Cloud
Victoria Park, Bristol 25/7/09
'From dawn til dusk on Saturday 25th July, artists Heather and Ivan Morison led a crew of volunteers to build a temporary public artwork for Bristolís Victoria Park. The pavilion-like timber structure, The Black Cloud, was commissioned by Situations at the University of the West of England, and designed in collaboration with architect graduate Sash Reading. It will act as a meeting point, performance stage and shelter for events and performances during its time in the park over the next four months.
The design is based on the Shabono shelters of Venezuela, which combine
an exposed communal zone in the centre with sheltered living space
around the periphery, and a permeable threshold into the surrounding
jungle. The Black Cloud takes these abstract qualities into a new form
with a triangulated timber structure that appears to be animated in its
light interaction with the park. The form was resolved by taking a
geodesic dome, removing the top and deforming the shape into a structure
that provides varying degrees of shelter, height and permeability. The
result is a structure of 152 unique triangles that take on the lifelike
character of a giant insect. The timber facade, sourced from the
artistsí arboretum in Wales, was treated using a Japanese scorching
technique, to create a dark, protective shield.
The title The Black Cloud is based on a
novel by Sir Fred Hoyle in which The Black Cloud describes a large dark
body of gas that prevents solar radiation reaching the earth, later
found to be a sentient superorganism'.