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<nettime-ann> CLOUDS OF CLOUDS
miguel leal on Tue, 30 Sep 2008 20:57:41 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> CLOUDS OF CLOUDS


by Miguel Leal and Luis Sarmento


Clouds of clouds is a random generator of cloud images. Each new  
cloud is unique and indexed to a particular time (GMT) on a  
particular day.

Clouds of Clouds was developed in Perl + MySQL. It works over a  
database of more than 1.000.000 photos of clouds.
Photo information was gathered from Flickr between September 10-13  
2008, using Flickr API.
The database will be regularly updated.

Clouds of clouds is a web-based project comissioned for Interact 15  
The project was produced between July and September 2008.

hosted by virose.pt


"This is randomness, and that is altogether different. If absolutely  
necessary, you can count the stars. A catalogue has been kept of them  
since Antiquity. But if you ask for a catalogue of the clouds, people  
laugh at you. There is no such term as cloud, defined as permanent,  
defined by its borders, by its terms or its terminations. […] Clouds,  
whirlwinds, flows, noises, all primary masses without qualities."

  (M. Serres)

Chaos theories, as they have emerged in strength since the 1960s,  
with their focus on complexity, were in fact an answer to the  
monstrous and misshapen nature of certain phenomena that were  
revealed to be resistant to determinist equations or to the laws of  
causality. Atmospheric phenomena such as clouds have always been seen  
as an image of the inability to submit certain realities to precise  
measurement. To all intents and purposes, clouds appeared to be a  
perfect example of irreducibility, instability and unpredictability.  
Clouds, in their apparent causal disjunction, like a whirlwind or  
vortex, represented the principles of error, exception and monstrosity.

Perhaps this is why there have never been dreams of an individual  
cloud catalogue, since it would be so absurd. If we ask anybody for  
something similar, we risk being ridiculed, as Michel Serres recalls.  
Clouds are instantly fleeting and have no number or stable form. They  
exist now and no longer exist a moment later. We can classify the  
clouds approximately, order them by type or try to understand their  
signs but we have no way of archiving them.

The exponential growth of Web files, particularly with the  
participative forms that Web 2.0 has made common, has finally brought  
us an embryo for these absurd archives, and not only for clouds.  
Everything that has always been firmly uncataloguable seems to have  
found its place in the distributed digital archives.

At the same time, curiously, we have an increasing popularity in  
recent years for terms such as Cloud Computing, Cloud Architecture,  
Data Clouds, Text Clouds or Tag Clouds, in what represents the  
attribution of a new semantic power to our idea of a cloud.  
Particularly on the web, with the explosion of social networks, it  
has become common to use similar devices to organise meta-information  
generated by users.

Clouds of clouds is a random generator of cloud images. Each new  
cloud is unique and indexed to a particular time (GMT) on a  
particular day. Its clouds were made on similar dates and at similar  
times, not necessarily the same year, and are linked to the original  
web pages.

The basis of the archives are all images indexed with the tags  
<cloud> or <clouds> on Flickr.

These are not clouds in the atmospheric meaning of the word, but  
instead entities with which they share a complexity that can be  
confused with instability, unpredictability and irreducibility. That  
this is based on a relatively simple visualisation arrangement is  
another way of indicating that this complexity depends less on what  
we see on the surface than on the networks of relationships  
established from it.

The clouds generated by the users are kept in searchable archives.  
These archives will grow with the project and are intended to become,  
over time, veritable daily, monthly, yearly archives of clouds.  
Clouds of clouds also works as a type of infinite nesting doll:  
clouds within clouds, archives within archives.

Clouds of clouds is a project by Miguel Leal and Luís Sarmento



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