Cloud Studies Favorite 



May 29 2020



Forensic Architecture's Cloud Studies is a project that investigates the impact of toxic clouds on colonised and oppressed communities. The clouds, originating from sources like tear gas, industrial emissions, chemical weapons, and forest fires, often go unaddressed due to doubt and denialism. By exposing the environmental and human rights violations caused by toxic clouds, the project aims to raise awareness, mobilise resistance, and demand accountability. Cloud Studies demonstrates how art can be a powerful tool for forensic investigation and evidence production, reclaiming the air we breathe as a common good.
The project uses various methodologies such as fluid dynamics, 3D modelling, fieldwork, geolocation, remote sensing, and machine learning to make the slow violence of toxic clouds visible and legible. Collaborations with local activists, researchers, and communities also help document and resist the toxic clouds that surround them. Through a series of case studies from different parts of the world, the findings and methodologies of Forensic Architecture are showcased in an exhibition called Cloud Studies.
Some of the case studies presented in the exhibition include the use of tear gas by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters, the petrochemical corridor known as Cancer Alley, the use of white phosphorus by Turkish forces against Kurdish civilians, the use of herbicides by Colombian authorities to eradicate coca crops, and forest fires set by agribusiness interests in Indonesia and Brazil.
Initially produced for the exhibition Critical Zones: Observatories for earthly politics at ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe in 2020, Cloud Studies has since been exhibited in solo shows and as part of major events worldwide. The project, led by Eyal Weizman and Samaneh Moafi, has won the Prix Ars Electronica 2021 Golden Nica Award in the Artificial Intelligence & Life Art category. Despite facing controversy when exhibited at the Whitworth Gallery, the exhibition received support from various academic, artistic, and human rights organisations that defended Forensic Architecture's work.
Cloud Studies has been praised by several reviews, with Ceasefire Magazine describing it as a "powerful and timely exhibition" and Letterboxd rating it as five stars, calling it a "political phenomenon." The exhibition has been recognized for its innovative and rigorous methods of investigation and presentation.

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Cloud studies has been successful in raising awareness about the impact of toxic clouds on colonised and oppressed communities, and it has employed innovative methodologies to investigate and present the findings. It has received widespread recognition, including prestigious awards such as the Prix Ars Electronica 2021 Golden Nica Award in the Artificial Intelligence & Life Art category, and has been exhibited in numerous galleries and events worldwide. And the project has managed to engage local activists, researchers, and communities, showcasing collaborations that help document and resist the toxic clouds.