We are seeing some significant achievements in environmental change — and we hope that with public art works like this large-scale environmental art installation by French art duo HeHe (Helen Evans and Heiki Hansen) that greater eco-consciousness will characterize 2009. Last February, HeHe installed a Nuage Vert, or “Green Cloud”, across the skies of Helsinki. The installation used laser tracking to project a green illumination onto the chimney emissions of the Salmisaari power plant. The illumination adjusts its shape and size to the contours of the vapor, reflecting the electrical consumption of residents in Ruoholahti and neighboring Lauttasaari.

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During the week long installation, local residents were asked to consume less, unplug their electrical appliances, and then watch the green cloud grow! HeHe explained; “No other space, network, grid, community could better represent a city and it’s activity as a whole. The physical dimension of the Salmisaari site, inhabits a special position in Helsinki; physically, visually and metaphorically. The vertical vectors of the architecture connect the underworld with the sky: the underground coal storage tunnels descend to 126m below sea level (the deepest point in Helsinki) whilst it’s chimney reaches 155m into the sky with its cloud disappearing into the lower atmosphere.”

In May 2008, Nuage Vert was awarded the 01SJ Green Prix for Environmental Art at the second edition of 01SJ Festival in San Jose. A month later in June, the project also won the 2008 Ars Electronica Golden Nica.

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