Nimbus comes from the latin term meaning “dark cloud”. Today, Nimbus Clouds hang low in the air and are heavy with water that often fades down towards the ground in misty precipitation that dissolves into virga. Since Nimbus clouds are dense and full of water, they appear darker in the sky, as the sun backlights the curves of their high towering formations that fall uniformly like gobs of whipped cream across the open sky.
Inside the empty art galleries of Amsterdam, artist Berndnaut Smilde creates his own Nimbus clouds by carefully regulating the temperature and humidity inside of the room. Although a God fearing man might believe this to be the work of witchcraft and wizardry, the Dutch artist’s clouds are born from simple science. Once the conditions of the space are set, Smilde pumps a small bit of fog from a fog machine into the center of the room. The cloud takes shape for only an instant, holding tightly together as a strategically placed lighting set up mimic’s the rays of the sun. In this small moment Smilde is able to photograph the cloud before it collapses back down into fog.
Smilde knows that his clouds will never be able to stay together for long, but he is more concerned with the potential of his idea, leaving it’s development in the hands of the future. Until then, we are left with the striking images of the few times Smilde was able to play god.
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