Location: Rota, Spain
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $48,500
Conceptualization, Fabrication, Programming, Installation
Studio Coordination, Technical Consultation, Exhibition Management, Installation Assistance
Pablo & Ro Alonso de la Sierra
Pinea-Linea de Costa
CLOUDNET is an interactive light and sound sculpture that is activated by the dynamic movement of observers and passersby. The initial impetus for the creation of CLOUDNET was to bring attention to ‘ghost fishing’ – the phenomenon where lost, dumped or abandoned fishing gear continues to ensnare fish or marine organisms. To highlight this crisis, CLOUDNET utilizes the non-traditional media of reclaimed monofilament fish netting, recovered from the Andalusian region of Spain. This material’s inherent properties naturally act as a light conduit, passing the pulses of light activated within CLOUDNET outward, illuminating the entire 5’ x 2’ x 3’ volume of the sculpture with a vibrant energy able to be seen and felt by all. And as thunderous booms emanate from its core, for a moment, participants can experience on a small scale what it’s like to control the uncontrollable. Franklin endeavored to capture and harness the power of electricity. CLOUDNET imagines what it feels like to create it.
There were several important goals. The primary goal was engaging the surrounding community of Rota (Spain) with a piece that signified a deep, cultural connection. And as a centuries old fishing community, the monofilament fish netting felt like an appropriate and even symbolic medium. The visual curiosity of the piece as a static sculptural work was a starting point.
But I wanted to take it further and added the interactive lighting and sound component in an attempt to engage all, but especially the youngest viewers. I felt grabbing the attention of these young viewers was crucial in bringing awareness, and perhaps starting a conversation between parent and child, about the environmental impact of ghost fishing. The global youth are some of the most engaged and action-oriented when it comes to environmental and climate issues.
Additionally, the premiere of CLOUDNET featured interviews from the local fishermen of Rota, Spain. Presented via wireless headphones, listeners heard first hand accounts of the challenges these fishermen face in an evermore industrialized world.
Our collaboration was vitally important to the development of this project. My collaborators (Pablo & Ro Alonso de la Sierra) were key in providing me with local resources, from recovering fish netting to locating potential interviewees. Additionally, they secured the studio where the piece was initially prototyped and constructed, as well as technical consultation around its installation, and ultimately assistance with the installing the finished project. On top of all that, they were able to translate the interviews I conducted, teasing out local colloquialisms in a regional Andalusian dialect.
CLOUDNET was created to highlight ghost fishing and the overall crisis of this planet’s evermore polluted waters. In the case of ghost fishing, this discarded fishing gear continues to catch fish. But with no one to retrieve the catch, the ensnared marine life die and decay, attracting scavengers that will eventually get caught in the same netting or gear, thus creating a potentially endless cycle that will continue to radically reduce already dwindling fish and marine life populations. Recycling recovered monofilament fish netting for the primary physical medium of the piece, CLOUDNET renders this potentially life threatening ‘ghost gear’ harmless. Creating beauty from the chaos, viewers' own body movements breathe new life and energy into the material. Since its initial installation, CLOUDNET has traveled to other locations and continues to engage and educate its viewers.