MAN MADE CLOUDS
3 august 2009
Pollinaria and HeHe present a unique farming project, focused on the cultivation and manufacture of the artist’s book Man Made Clouds. This limited series of books will be created from organic tobacco plants subtracted to the usual channels of tobacco industry and grown in the Pollinaria fields. On May 2nd 2010, the public was physically involved in the book farming process by participating in the tobacco planting operations. The leaves were harvested in Summer 2010 and later manufactured in order to form the basic material for the making of the book
Since summer 2009, HeHe have been concentrating their work with Pollinaria on the research and concept for their book Man Made Clouds. The book will take the form of a visual anthology focusing on the representation of man-made emissions in the past and their gradual disappearance in contemporary culture. In popular culture the meaning of man-made clouds has reflected the concerns of different periods: they have been used as a sign of economic prosperity, to express spiritual energy, as an emblem for workers’ revolution and more recently as the ultimate icon of pollution. In HeHe’s projects cloud forms have been used as a visual metaphor to aestheticise emissions. The book will present essays and projects that offer alternative readings for today’s man-made clouds which challenge the prevailing representations. The first part of the book will weave a visual and narrative thread that connects tobacco smoking, industrial emissions and air pollution. The second part will report HeHe’s varied ironic interventions on the theme of man-made clouds and their multiform meanings, including an extensive documentation of the Nuage Vert project and other works from the Pollstream series. At a time when the relationship between art and ecology is yet again highly topical, Man Made Clouds proposes an original view of the perception of emissions, from an artistic and historical perspective. The book aims to bring man-made clouds back into view by offering an aesthetic space that provokes a more profound reflection about our inseparable relationship to the environment
In reference to the Man Made Clouds publication, the tobacco book is literally meant to go up in fumes... The development for the tobacco book encompasses the entire cycle of organic product development: the tobacco was cultivated in Pollinaria, left to dry naturally, and later transformed into paper in a bespoke laboratory set up by Vaseem Bhatti (EHQuestionmark studio) in Rochdale, UK. In a humorous reversal of the term "book farming", the tobacco book project employs artisanal and empirical processes for "farming a book"
HeHe is a Paris based art and design partnership set up in 1999 by Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen. Using a language based on light, sound and image, their practice explores the relationship between the individual and their architectural and urban environment. For HeHe, the city is an endless source of possibilities, not only to build the new but also to exercise critique, to reprogram its buildings and infrastructures, to make the invisible visible and to create new meanings that weave stories for its inhabitants
HeHe’s self-initiated project Nuage Vert (Helsinki 2008), which illuminates the vapour emissions of a power plant, was critically acclaimed internationally and awarded three prizes: the Golden Nica in Hybrid Art at Ars Electronica (Austria 2008), the Green Prix at Zero One San José (USA 2008), and the Certificate of Honour from the Foundation for Environmental Art (Finland 2009). The process of making Nuage Vert meant collaborating and liaising with industry, the local council, local schools, activists, journalists and citizen groups. The project raised awareness about energy efficiency and focused on reaching local audiences not necessarily exposed to contemporary forms of visual art
HeHe have been commissioned to make site-specific works for the Centre Pompidou (Air de Paris, 2007), Luxembourg European Capital of Culture (Trans-ient City, 2007), V2 Rotterdam (2005). Their video Toy Emissions (2007), which documents a performance in the streets of New York City, was included in the Lyon Biennial of Contemporary Art (2009)