Producing ice cream clouds with a method developed for altering rainfall called cloud-seeding technology, artists Zoe Papadopulou and Cat Kramer are making the discussion of climate control fun and engaging. The artists’ project, called the The Cloud Project, uses a retro ice-cream van with several mounted industrial water sprayers that spout a mix of liquid nitrogen and ice cream, creating a spray that condenses into ice cream clouds. This playful weather manipulation, although less useful as a practical application, offers a yummy catalyst for the debate on emerging nanotechnology and its promise to create a controlled climate.
The project sounds high-tech, but their current methods of ice cream production is slightly less complicated than the artists’ hypothesis for mass-produced ice-cream clouds which would involve some genetic modification of food-grade yeast. The technology is still a ways off, but the artists see no reason not to douse the crowds in the aroma of strawberries and frightening possibility for now.
The van was on display as part of the exhibition Design Interactions (RCA) gradauation show, but will tour in the future. Along the way, the artists plan on passing out ice cream made with liquid nitrogen: the process gives the dessert an unreal smooth texture.
Presenting science in a fun and accessible way, the project was created to increase awareness about emerging climate control technology. In this context, neighborhood chit-chat about the weather has very different implications. Rather than discussing the ethereal and unknowable work of the gods, folks ponder the ethereal and unknowable possibilities of a relatively new technology that still has unknown long-term effects on the environment.