This piano turns clouds into music

A French museum of modern art has commissioned an installation that makes music from the weather. (Probably a better way to handle the end of summer than moaning to everyone you know about it being September.)

With the help of digital and musical experts at the University of Minnesota, American artist David Bowen, who specialises in robotic and interactive sculptures, has created ‘Cloud Piano’: a piano that plays melodies in real time based on the shape and movement of clouds.

As PSFK reports, the installation consists of a robotic device that ‘plays’ the piano based on weather information transmitted by outdoor sensors and a camera pointed to the sky. The camera captures video of cloud formations, which is translated into music by specially-designed software that maps the speed, shape and intensity of cloud cover and instructs the device to move accordingly. The aim is to seem as if the sky itself is spontaneously composing music.

It will be at L’Assaut de la Menuiserie in Saint-Étienne, France from today until the end of October. It’s part of a show of Bowen’s work, which also includes Fly Revolver, a gun that moves and fires (maybe bring your flak jacket?), powered by the movement of flies. (And some insecticide?)

Diane Shipley