Green Cloud is a city scale art project which uses the vapour emissions of a power plant chimney as a projection surface, adding a second level reading to a site which is both visible and ignored : a household waste incinerator.

There are three incinerators that serve the Paris region – capable of absorbing household waste and converting it to district heating and electricity – and their cumulus clouds stretch out into the Paris skyline.

Photomontage by HeHe, Saint-Ouen 2005

The technical system uses purpose built technology that projects a moving laser beam, which is constantly redrawn onto the moving contour of the cloud. The size of the cloud reacts in real time to the statistics collected by the power plant. The less we throw away, the smaller the cloud will become. This real-time data informs the inhabitants of their collective cycle of consumption – destruction. During the event, a media campaign invites residents to participate: to produce less non-recyclable waste, to feed the incinerator less, to make the green cloud disappear.

The chimney and emission become a collective space and a community measuring tape, but there is an irony here: Nuage Vert aestheticises an icon of industrial pollution while seeking to draw the viewer’s critical attention to it. By becoming a sign of wonder, a spectacle, a terrible beauty, a space is opened up for the viewer.

Beyond the spectacle, the project aims to create a movement, a participative process which is an open invitation to all those concerned: the power plant itself, the local mayor, think-tanks, environmental activists, residents, cultural organisations. With local schools, non-profit organisations, the project intends to create a dialogue with citizens.