CLOUDNET (MAY 2017) is a dynamically interactive light and sound sculpture that is activated by the movement of observers and passersby. At first glance, though suspended in mid-air and seemingly weightless, it appears to be a traditional sculpture with a contemporary edge. However, CLOUDNET utilizes the non-traditional media of recycled monofilament fish netting (salvaged and reclaimed from the fishing village of Rota, Spain). This material’s inherent properties naturally act as a light conduit, passing the pulses of light activated within CLOUDNET outward, illuminating the entire 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.
Though CLOUDNET consists of many different elements, from its monofilament exterior to the state of the art sensor-driven microcontrollers inside, the beating heart of the experience is the illuminating energy within that is generated by the viewer. Suddenly, from the calm to the storm, CLOUDNET comes to life!
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. With no one to retrieve the catch, the ensnared 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 breathe new life and energy into the material through their own body movement.
In addition to highlighting ‘ghost fishing’, the premiere of CLOUDNET featured interviews from the local fishermen of Rota, Spain. Presented via wireless headphones in both Spanish and English, listeners heard first hand accounts of the challenges these fishermen face in an evermore industrialized world.
About the artist: ANDY WAGENER is a mixed media artist creating sculptural installations; frequently with a digital / interactive component. His work is often site-specific and focuses on environmental concerns, social issues and the historical context surrounding a chosen location. He received his BFA in Computer Art with concentrations in sculpture and painting from Bowling Green State University and studied in the graduate Digital + Media program at The Rhode Island School of Design. Wagener has exhibited public installations around the US and internationally, including New York City; Providence, Rhode Island; Beacon, New York; Washington, DC and Rota, Spain. His work in visual design has received numerous awards, including multiple Cine Golden Eagle Awards and the Warren Sturgis Motion Media Award, and has also been screened both in the US and abroad including the Maui Film Festival, the Taiwan International Animation Festival and the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Andy Wagener currently lives and works in New York.