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Published on Mar 14, 2010
'Troika was commissioned by Artwise Curators to create a signature piece for the entrance of the new British Airways luxury lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5. In response, we created 'Cloud', a five meter long digital sculpture whose surface is covered with 4638 flip-dots that can be individually addressed by a computer to animate the entire skin of the sculpture. Flip-dots were conventionally used in the 70s and 80s to create signs in train-stations and airports. By audibly flipping between black and silver, the flip-dots create mesmerizing waves as they chase across the surface of Cloud. Reflecting its surrounding colours, the mechanical mass is transformed into an organic form that appears to come alive, shimmering and flirting with the onlookers that pass by. The sculpture is located in Terminal 5 in the atrium hall that leads to the British Airways First Class Lounges. The brief from British Airways was open and simple: create a signature piece that marks the entrance to the First Class Lounges and signifies the transition between the busy shopping floor and the calm and serenity of the lounges. Working from the idea of clouds and the contrast between the busy, hectic airport experience and the calm, luminous and ethereal world that we discover as we fly through this dense layer we came up with the basic metaphor, atmosphere and form of the installation. Another one of our inspirations came from the old electromagnetic flip-dots that were used in railway and airport signs from the mid 70s. Those signs, with their characteristic flicking noise that instantly invokes the idea of travel, represent to us a golden age of technology when analogue and digital started to merge. The indicators, dots that flip from one side to the other with an electric impulse have a fantastic materiality, a physical and tactile quality that more modern technologies often lack, being de-materialised into the virtual. We dreamt of applying this redundant technology to our sculpture, to create a sort of living organism, a cloud that we could animate, exploring the aesthetic potential of the flip-dots. As the flip-dots flick we are instantly reminded of rippling water, of the mesmerizing movements of snakes and school of fish. For to accentuate this feeling we chose to create one side of the dots as silver mirrors emulating the organic movements of.' ( source: Troika web-site) More info: http://troika.uk.com/cloud