Review: Memory Cloud

By NatalieU Last edited 115 months ago
Review: Memory Cloud

The Memory Cloud is an interactive art installation which relies on the general public sending in messages via a text message which is then displayed as "light-and-air smoke signals". Sounds impressive? It sure does. It conjures up the idea of mixing new age and ancient technology however, Londonist feels that it was no more sophisticated than something you may encounter at school dance in this day and age. The messages at times were difficult to decipher, especially during very unpredictable gusts of wind but this did not deter people from texting in.

So, what did the people of London have to say? Some were more imaginative than the others but the most popular words and partial phrases included "London", "Love", "Chicken", "Boris is", "Nelson", "Welcome Home" and "Marry Me".

If you wish to have your name up in lights and smoke, the Memory Cloud can be see at Trafalgar Square on the 8th-10th October from 7:00pm-9:30pm.

Last Updated 09 October 2008


Dinosaurs are fool, surely?!


Amidst the Ooo's and arh's of RACHEL LOVES HUGO and the sniggers to HUGO LOVES HIMSELF (Sorry Rachel and Hugo, whoever you are!) text messages, a small crowd gathers to face the gantry assembled in front of Nelson's column. Huddled together staring into the fog, attempting to decipher the messages appearing in front of them. Collectively they sounded like the United Nations and whether they stumbled upon this event or they were especially blown in, I mean flown in, from Brussels was not clear which, sadly, on this breezy October evening seemed the dominate theme. It certainly wasn't easy to see what was being written by the laser because the capital letters wafted and wonked their way sideways in a Vordermanesque style Countdown conundrum. Still, there was plenty of help to hand from the G87 (approx.) meeting as the first pssst of smoke was greeted by the collective mumbling of ... "I" .... "LOVE" ... "ODON". Right then! Is this something to do with Denmark? Patently I'm not exactly up to scratch on Norse mythology but this mattered not as the crowd seemed bright enough to fill in the alphanumerics easily, although I for one found this rather dull. Surely it would only be a matter of time before we see "HIT" or "RAP" - bright young things.

So what was this Memory Cloud thing supposed to actually be/make/do/say?
Given the artists background in architecture, was this supposed to be site specific? There certainly was no evidence of that in this piece and no other clues elsewhere as even their web site, with it's illegible dark gray text on a black background (an omen if ever I barely saw one), offered nothing specific about location. In fact, I didn't feel that this event was well considered at all ... but this is not to say I didn't enjoy myself - I did, honestly.

Looking around, I noticed the best view was probably offered from the steps at the North end of the square where there was plenty of space to sit and watch the show. On walking towards the steps I could just about make out the screwed up faces of those thinking ahead but likewise that this particular vantage point looked ideal only to watch them attempt to hide their faces behind out stretched palms as laser light's dazzling glow sent them scurrying to the corners, Logan's Run stylie. Back to the herd it is then ...

Standing watching, I feel I like the idea of what I see not least because I enjoy interaction with art but also because the ICA web site categorically stated that text messages would be uncensored. Determined that this wouldn't be just a derailed detour on my way to Cafe Rouge in Wellington Street, I put my fingers to work, tapping away and winging off messages. The mischievous, impish side of me was going to have fun tonight, for sure. After several minutes waiting in the fog it was becoming clear that the smoky oracle was in censor mode - huff! Perhaps I should have added "DON'T" to "ENJOY COCAINE"? Somewhat irked by this suppression of expression there seemed little else to do other than but-in on other peoples messages. So there you have it, Rachel and Hugo, blame them not me.