The Art of Fire and Fog
It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.
- Joseph Conrad
- Fire Vortex - Technorama, Winterthur, Switzerland. 1997
Suspended in a dark atrium of the museum, a series of fans and blowers creates a 20 foot (6 metre) tall vortex of swirling fire. The vortex forms over a pool of burning kerosene. The flame
spirals up through the spinning outer core of the vortex, leaving a hollow calm in the centre. The serpentine motion of the vortex is constantly influenced by air currents in the
museum. Visitors view the vortex from the safety of a balcony, but they are still close enough to feel the heat and hear the rumbling sounds that it creates. Completed in 1997.
- Tornado - World Financial Center, Battery Park City, New York, New
A 10-foot tall vortex is formed by air blowers and an ultrasonic fog machine inside a sculpture installed in the atrium adjacent to the Winter Garden. The vortex continually changed shape in
response to the surrounding air currents. These fluctuations gave the vortex an erratic and life-like appearance. Viewers were encouraged to alter the shape of the vortex with their
hands. The calm, central core of the vortex is clearly evident.
- Invisible Whirlwinds - New Langton Arts, San Francisco, California. 1987
A 12-foot tall fog tornado was created using fans, curved walls and the existing ventilation system in the gallery. The movements of viewers altered the air currents and modified the shape of the
- Duales Systems Pavilion - EXPO 2000, Hannover, Germany. 2000
A collaboration with the architect, Uwe Bruckner, on the design of a building that created a 7-story tall tornado. The pavilion was sponsored by the German recycling company, Duales
Systems. The circular shape of the building and air turbines integrated into the spiral ramps and ceiling were designed to sculpt the air in the central atrium into a 75-foot (23 metres) tall
vortex. The vortex was made visible by fog pumped through the floor and illuminated by a combination of natural light and electronically controlled lights that slowly cycled through various
colours. The membrane of the building opened and closed every 10n minutes, causing the ambient light levels to slowly rise and fall. The circular forms of the architecture, the swirling
vortex and the rhythmic lightening and darkening of the space, all related to the underlying design theme of "cycles". Visitors to the pavilion also walked in a cyclical path, slowly ascending a
spiral ramp that offered close viewing of the vortex from many different heights and vantage points and then descending a spiral staircase. Completed in May 2000.
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