cloud seeding

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A Participatory Public Artwork - Denver Public Library - Green Valley Ranch - Denver, CO

Cloud Seeding is a participatory artwork that processes library patron's card catalog searches to call up a spectrum of associative images, quotes and films drawn from the library's collection. The result is an ever-shifting real-time visualization of the library's day-to-day usage – and of the collective consciousness created through a community's participation in its local library.

Winner of the Public Art Network's "Year in Review" Award for best public artworks in 2012 > > >

Consisting of an array of large LCD screens connected to a special library catalog search kiosk, the artwork uses custom software to parse patrons' search results, based on Dewey Decimal associations. The resulting display layers associative media clips and quotes, culled from the library's unique collection of books, dvds, and digital image and text archives.

The artwork draws on a artist-curated database of over 6,000 items, which was created with input from the Denver community, library staff, and several artist residencies at the Denver Library.

WATCH A VIDEO of the artwork > > >

Additional Images > > >

Cloud Seeding - Denver Public Library Public Artwork from Erik Carlson / AREA C on Vimeo.

In theory, "cloud seeding" is the process where a volatile agent, a catalyst, is introduced into the atmosphere with the intent of producing a generative effect – literally, rain, snow or some other type of precipitation.

Cloud Seeding serves as a catalyst, encouraging patrons to diversify and explore. The artwork uses shifting layers of content to instigate a generative experience, challenging patrons to let go of their expectations , to experience the layering that the library's resources and "collective consciousness" can provide. And it allows them, through their explorations, to participate in the creation of the artwork itself.

• Promotes the Library's collection
• Provides participatory + educational artwork for patrons of all ages
• Creates a running record of the library's usage
• Inspires new paths of inquiry
• Celebrates the multi-media + interactive nature of the contemporary library
• Draws on community's individual experiences to transform them into a communal experience
• Provides highly visible, signature artwork to greet library visitors

Created and Designed by Erik Carlson (Copyright © 2009 - 2011)
Commissioned by the City of Denver's Public Art Program and the Denver Public Library
Software Design and Hardware Consulting by SoSoLimited
Fabrication by Junoworks, Jet Glass and Fine Line Signs.
Installation by Erik Carlson and Junoworks.
Film consulting by Ralph Goudreau / ACME Video

Special thanks to:
Erica Carpenter, Cori Jackamore, Jim Kroll and the Western History Collection staff, the Green Valley Ranch Library staff, Ralph Goudreau, Andrew Carlson and ACE Alameda Station, and all the Denver residents who contributed content to the artwork.

Copyright © 2009 - 2011 Erik Carlson / AREA C