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Another fascinating project from Paisajes Emergentes in collaboration with Lovisa Lindström, Sara Hellgren and Sebastian Monsalve. Called Clouds, it's a proposed installation to be located in every town that will be flooded by the Ituango Hydroelectric Dam megaproject in Colombia.


Having not yet read any project statement, we can't accurately describe the actual mechanics of this installation. Nevertheless, we like what we think is the intent of the design team. That is, we're imagining this as an act of protest for environmental and social justice — which, if true, would be a refreshing change from the typical Archigram and Buckminster Fuller-inspired apocalyptic and utopian buoyant scenarios.

While cities and villages await the start of dam construction and their inevitable drowning, these ominous clouds will be deployed up to the water level of a future reservoir, forming an archipelago of artificial islands in an absent artificial lake. Their shadows will cast upon forests and mountains to be asphyxiated. They will loom high above lives about to be wrenchingly disrupted.


Since the top is leveled, locals (and perhaps disaster tourists) will hop on and ride these aerial barges. Agents from the hydroelectric company will come to educate the benefits of the dam. Politicians will come to boast this public works project as civilizing and modernizing. And environmentalists will come to praise this new source of clean energy.

But other environmentalists who have actually done their homework will come to counter the engineers and bureaucrats with the dam's monumental destructiveness. Indigenous peoples will come to protest their displacement from their ancestral lands. Downstream localities already suffering from water scarcity will come to claim their water rights. And many more will come to seek redress of unfair compensations for their lost properties.

The views of the surrounding (contested) terrains will be absolutely picturesque, but the air will be highly charged. One false move from any of the factions and things will combust.


But what are they exactly? Sculptures? Follies? Floating parks? Pavilions?



In the aftermath of the deluge, will they be used as diving platforms from which former residents will try to salvage what few they can of their possessions from their submerged cities? And unsurprisingly from where looters will carry out their moon fishing expeditions?

Perhaps while awaiting relocation, some of these hydro-refugees will use these platforms as temporary informal settlements, which then organize organically into permanent island cities.

Quito 1: Paisajes Emergentes
Rainwater Harvesting in Quito
A Proposal for an Aquatics Complex for the Chicago 2016 Summer Olympic Games Bid
Four Plazas and A Street

Balloon Park
  • axel
  • October 2, 2009 at 7:08:00 AM CDT
  • makes me think of donald barthelme's incredible short story, "The Balloon," which is about a giant balloon over nyc. if you haven't read it, you must. david foster wallace once said that this was the story that made him want to become a writer.

  • Anonymous
  • October 2, 2009 at 9:03:00 AM CDT
  • Not sure they are symbolizing clouds, given they have a level upper - perhaps they represent the bubbles escaping the buried homes.

  • Lucas Gray
  • October 12, 2009 at 5:26:00 AM CDT
  • Nice imagery. I'm not sure the accessible top is the best idea - how do you get up there? But as a work of art depicting the tremendous loss these large dam projects (no pun intended) create, it is a wonderful and thought provoking idea.

    -Lucas Gray

  • rob
  • October 14, 2009 at 11:39:00 AM CDT
  • Maybe you've seen this already, but dpr-barcelona got in touch with P.E. and got a bit of the background.

  • Anonymous
  • October 14, 2009 at 11:06:00 PM CDT
  • bucky did it already.

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