Head in the Clouds

There’s a whole lotta buzz these days about cloud computing – how we’re moving rapidly toward a time when all of our information and software applications are stored, shared and accessed online instead of on our personal computers.

The Pew Research Center’s Project on Internet and American Life even included questions about cloud computing in its latest survey of attitudes about technology and the online world. 

Personally, I’m not fond of use of the term “cloud” as a metaphor in this case. Does anyone like cloudy minds or cloudy water? When I think of clouds, I think of nimbus, cirrus, cumulus. I think of evaporation, stormy weather, and acid rain. Even Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I don’t think of data.


I’ve Looked at Clouds from Both Sides Now

I prefer to refer to clouds in the traditional sense…real puffy clouds up there in the real sky. Let me share two not-so-fluffy but very cool sources of atmospheric inspiration:

Clouds 365 is a project “dedicated to art, learning, determination, processes, patterns and obsession.” It’s one man’s mission to document the skies overhead on a daily basis over the course of a year, a sort of meditation on observation.

Photographer Kelly De Lay explains, “After years of neglecting my creative drive in favor of business and management, making this commitment to art is a welcome chance to turn back to something I love.”  

De Lay promised to ponder the skies above him for a full year, which is coming to a close at the end of this month. Over the past year, he’s attracted an impressive 77,000 fans on Facebook, and was nominated for a Webby Award. 

In a way, his project is a reminder that if things on the ground are bringing you down, just look up. The sky isn’t falling. And while, you’re looking, take notice and acknowledge the beauty of what’s up there.


I Really Don’t Know Clouds At All

The other cool page I’m recommending looks at the skies from the perspective of outerspace, looking down on little old earth. It’s a recent post from Wired which shared fascinating NASA photos of cloud formations from space, including this one below:

Explore the gallery of these satellite photographs which show just how complex and awesome and bizarre clouds can be, even when you don’t find bunny shapes or other Rorschach revelations.

Perhaps these cloud images will serve as an inspiration to public media producers who apply to participate in AIR’s intensive this fall called “Sounds Elemental: Sky.