TO HOPE MEANS ATTEMPTING TO CAPTURE CLOUDS LL
TO HOPE MEANS ATTEMPTING TO CAPTURE CLOUDS ll
Two custodians named Grace from the Cloud Maintenance Department tend the on-going operations of cloud formation and rainfall. A nod to Sigmar Polke and the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing….
We are commissioned to create an interactive performance piece for The Eastern Market Sidewalk Jamboree in Detroit. We endeavor to create a simple set of repeated actions to present as an intervention in the market. In response to the vaulted architecture of the indoor market we build a tall, comically-cumbersome structure to support a small cardboard cloud. We buy janitorial uniforms and a collection of cleaning equipment to pull along with us as we traverse the market, quietly migrating around other performers, audience and vendors.
We will make it rain inside the market by using the leaf blower attachment to a Shop-Vac to shoot blue confetti and glitter into the air. This spectacle will last for only fifteen seconds. We will laboriously and contemplatively sweep up the remnants. Each hour we will repeat the explosion.
Our planned interactions include inflating a second “cloud’ of helium balloons which, one by one, we will give to spectators. Before distributing the balloons we must paint a silver-lined cloud on each one. We stand on a step stool, apply glue and glitter and only then hand the balloon over, enforcing on its recipient our extended time-sense. One after another, small clouds will float off into the market.
People mistake us for actual janitors; our own friends do not always recognize us.
Adolescent boys look dubiously at Corey covered with glitter from the “rainstorms” we have created. They wonder aloud why a man would want to look all sparkly like that. Later, they wait for us to perform each explosion on the hour and deliberately stand underneath to absorb all they can.
A man gazes upon the pile of confetti and glitter which we sweep up to reuse, commenting, “This seems very labor intensive. You just do this over and over again?” Stefanie replies, “That’s the thing about the water cycle. It’s the same water again and again since the beginning of time…”
We become concerned with invisibility.
We become interested in the terms of the agreements we make around fantasy—everyone seems to understand that glitter and blue confetti equal rain.