chronicle #22 cloud obsession / bring the sky down

July 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Ever seen clouds underground? Now, yes.

When I was asked by a friend, a month ago, to draw clouds in the subway, I was like “what?” and then he explained. The idea was to bring a portion of the sky in the underground, on line 9 (to be on Cloud 9, get it?). The metro in Paris tends to be a sad place, not because the place itself is sad – well, it’s underground but whoever said underground was sad didn’t nail it – but because people don’t exactly share joy when on the train. It’s hot, it’s crowded, it’s got all the drawbacks in the world if you listen to them. So Buster Adams decided we should put an end to this lethargic state of sadness and set up the Cloud Obsession project.

On June 7, under a pounding sun, I joined a group of ten-ish in front of a photo lab in Nation – east of Paris – Buster was there, waiting for all of us with giant cardboard boxes. We could guess the “clouds” were somewhere in there. Finally, when we all got there – I didn’t know anyone but this experience would be the occasion to make new friends – and the photographer unveiled his work: maxi-sized photographs of the sky, with clouds floating, everywhere. We were given a cloud board each and… off we went down into the subway!

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The objective: first stay on the platforms and show people around with these arty clouds, then get on the trains, interact with passengers by putting their heads in clouds, talk to them, smile, share positive energy, get off and start the whole thing again on platforms so that people could suddenly see clouds from the train. Magic if you want my opinion: I would have loved to be on the train at that moment and be surprised by the sky that came down to me instead of falling down on my head.

What I liked: smiling to people from behind the cloud board, taking part in the choreography neatly organized by Buster, that sometimes looked like a ballet, sometimes like a commando operation – especially when the train drivers called for us, warning us the safety risks bringing clouds in the subway could provoke. The reception was also gratifying: I liked that old lady who seemed to be the only one to get the point. As soon as she saw us, she exclaimed: “Oh! How nice of you to bring an exhibition to me!!” And that was the point, Madam, exactly! Bring art to you.

So there we went, for an entire afternoon, bringing the sky here and there, until we reached Porte de Saint-Cloud, where we finally dropped everything and created a cloudy photo cabin just for us to be shot heads in the skies. We’re waiting for the pics. So Thanks Buster for this very very nice & friendly experience. We need to do more of this.

Buster Adams’s website : http://www.busteradams.net/

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