Errant Rain Cloud (collaboration with Gordon Hicks)

2019

Fibreglass, steel, LED lights, custom mechanical and electronic components, 2.55m x 1.84m x 1.76m

Collaboration with Gordon Hicks. Public art commission for Minoru Aquatic Centre, Richmond, BC 

Errant Rain Cloud is a natural phenomenon reimagined as a sculpture in the iconic form of a cloud. It gathers moisture from the air and releases it again as rain.In the natural water cycle sunlight heats the surface of our planet causing liquid water to evaporate. This warm humid air rises, becoming cooler with altitude. Cold air holds less water than warm air and eventually rising air reaches a point where it must release liquid water. The resulting microscopic droplets are the stuff of clouds. When the conditions are right and enough liquid water is available, it falls back to earth as rain. Water reaches the surface, where it is warmed by the sun, and the cycle continues. (This is a simplified description.)

In the Aquatic Centre is a reimagined world of lakes, beaches, hot springs and waterfalls all recreated by the building's mechanical systems. The artwork Errant Rain Cloud joins whimsically with this very local environment. Pool water, heated by the building's mechanical systems, evaporates into the air to become water vapour, a process accelerated by energetic swimming, splashing and even breathing. The moist air is mechanically cooled, releasing liquid water droplets. When there is enough water, it rains back into the pool, completing the cycle.

In nature, rain showers are a reliable but not wholly predictable phenomenon. At the Aquatic Centre it rains about once a day, but it is impossible to say exactly when.

Commissions: Errant Rain Cloud (with Gordon Hicks), 2019.

Germaine Koh, didactic illustration for Errant Rain Cloud, 2019,