Ofelia Plads, The Royal Danish Playhouse, Copenhagen. Photo: Torben Eskerod

Cloud Behavior

Video, 13 minutes
Series of 170 C-print photographs, 29.6×30.4 cm
(2018)

How do clouds move? What do they signify? What can they predict? Cloud Behavior is a work about the behavioral patterns of clouds, about depicting them, and examining them in search of symbols and predictions about shifting weather and climate. Over several months, Nanna Debois Buhl has photographed clouds on medium-format film and experimented with the images in the darkroom. The result is a series of cloud photographs that range from neutral registrations of the clouds to dramatic and color-saturated images.

Cloud Behavior is materialized as a series of photographs and as a film. The film is composed of a Buhl’s cloud photographs as well as a text that follows three characters: the Photographer, the Scientist and the Playwright, who each in their own way think about clouds – their movements, their meteorological impact, their meaning, and their tactility and variability. The text is a collaboration between Nanna Debois Buhl and writer Ida Marie Hede. In the work, the photographic studies of clouds connect to both scientific research on cloud behavior and to the mystical and meteorological contemplation of clouds by Swedish playwright, writer, and artist August Strindberg. In A Blue Book (1907–12), Strindberg envisions that cloud formations continually return in the same shapes and to the same place in the sky over Stockholm and speculates about what this means. Strindberg and the climate researchers of today share an interest in reading signs and omens in the clouds.