Memory Cloud is a public participatory environment that has been performed in London's Trafalgar Square in 2008 and outside the Detroit's Institute of Arts in 2011. The project was named one of the top ten international public art projects of 2008 by The Telegraph.
Memory Cloud is based on the ancient practice of smoke signals – one of the oldest forms of visual communication. Fusing ancient and contemporary mediums, Memory Cloud creates a dynamic hybrid space that communicates personal statements as part of an evolving text, animating the built environment through conversation. Interaction is facilitated through mobile phones allowing for an open, personal and accessible medium for collective participation. Through this conversational form of interaction, public space transforms into a dynamic stage of observation and experience.
In October of 2011, the Detroit Institute of Art was home to the first American performance of Memory Cloud. The project the people of Detroit an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the city. This interactive space animated the DIA Woodward Entrance with stories collected from the public. During the two weeks leading up to the event, messages consisting of memories, stories and personal aspirations for the city of Detroit were collected and archived on-line at www.voiceofdetroit.com. Each individual expression was part of a continuous story about the city, a narrative written by participants over the duration of the project transforming the steps of the DIA into a dynamic space for communication. Audience members were also able to contribute messages via text-message during the performance each night. These collected text messages have been added to the Voice of Detroit archive, becoming part of an evolving diary and a voice that speaks of Detroit's past, Detroit's present and Detroit's future.
“Potentially one of the most dramatic – and also most obscene – art events ever to be held in London.”- The Telegraph, 2008
Minimaforms would like to the opportunity to thank all those involved in making a project like Memory Cloud Detroit happen. This event would not be possible without the sponsorship by the Detroit Institute of Arts, funded by the Dr. and Mrs. George Kamperman Fund and Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art, in cooperation with Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Kunsthalle Detroit.
We would first like to thank DIA and in particular Rebecca Hart and her team who gave us the opportunity to create this work and share it with the city of Detroit. We cannot express the good will and effort that we experienced to welcome us and share with us the city, from opening up their homes to a six pack or Vernor's soda pop it was an unrivaled experience. We would also like to thank Rebecca Mazzei who first introduced to the city of Detroit and stimulated our interest in working with the city. We would also like to thank the assistants who volunteered their time for assisting the performance.
From the Minimaforms side we would like to thank the design team and the documentation team for their assistance and dedication to the project. We would like to thank Scott Penberthy, Andrew Wong, Donovan Mafnas and Andrew Paul Keiper for helping us evolve the project since our London performance. From the Video and Photography team we would like to thank the guys who came out to help us capture this piece, Jireh Ivan Hinton, Kano Vuong, Brandon Aaron Gibbs. We would also like to thank Sophie Lee and her students who did an amazing job video documenting and interviewing participants. Lastly with would like to thank all those who contributed and came out to the project.
Minimaforms: was founded by brothers Stephen and Theodore Spyropoulos as an experimental architecture and design practice that explores projects that provoke and facilitate new means of communication. Our approach examines interactive and evolutionary processes that engage the intimate integration of social and material interaction.
Design is an experiment, continuously evolving and challenging our times, an understanding that proclamations as manifestos are obsolete, so to the attempts to render this world singular and finite. The role of design today is a collective and shared pursuit, the project is one of action and awareness. Participatory models are pursued as means to challenge prescriptive models of command and control. The everyday is enabled to shape and stimulate our architecture machines. Our belief is that communication is the enabling agency at the heart of all forms of interaction, with intelligence being a product of this exchange. Challenging the finite and fixed disciplinary boundaries of today art / design culture, the work ranges from constructing atmospheres to vehicles, attempts to engage and stimulate the built environment and our everyday through participatory and interactive means.