Client: Farmers Park
Location: Springfield, MO, United States
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $255,000
Public Art Agent
Patricia Lea Watts, Public Art Curator
CLOUD HOUSE is a unique rain harvesting system that creatively reuses the rainwater it collects to provide a deeper look into the natural systems that give us the food we eat. It is a sensory experience that amplifies the connection between our existence and the natural world.
On rainy days, a gutter system collects rain that hits the roof and directs it to storage tank underneath the house. Sitting in the rocking chairs triggers a pump that brings the collected rainwater up into the ‘cloud’ to drop onto the roof, producing that warm pleasant sound of rain on a tin roof.
Designed to collect and store rainwater for the ‘cloud’ to rain, this display of the water-cycle illustrates our fragile dependence on the natural systems that grow the food we eat, and at points throughout the year when there is low rainfall, the ‘cloud’ will not rain on the roof because it is simply out of water.
CLOUS HOUSE is clad with barn wood and tin reclaimed from a nearby abandoned farm by group of Amish builders. With rocking chairs on a barn wood floor, the sound of rain on a tin roof, and rain drops bringing the necessary elements for plants growing in the window sills, the look and feel of CLOUD HOUSE is the epitome of a rural farm experience from simpler times, and creates a space to reflect on the natural processes of food production.
Located at Springfield, MO’s largest farmers market, CLOUD HOUSE is a poetic counterpoint to the well-attended market and offers a meditative moment to slow down, enjoy the fresh edible plants, and listen to rain on a tin roof.
Quote from Matthew Mazzotta:
“For years, grocery stores have provided food that relies on large agro-conglomerates with unsustainable farming practices, international food distributors, and chemical companies. Many people have demanded that we have another relationship with our food that focuses on personal health, the health of the planet, and supporting local community. Farmer’s markets, like the one at Farmers Park, give the option to know by whom and how our food is made. However, the changing climate has brought a new threat of increased instability to our food systems by creating unpredictable weather patterns, which we are seeing as more drought in some locations and more floods in other locations. This makes it harder and harder to grow food. It is becoming increasingly important that we have a clear understanding of how closely we are tied to ecological systems like the water cycle. CLOUD HOUSE offers a moment to sit in a rocking chair and listen to the rain on the tin roof to reflect upon the fragile dance we are in with nature and our own survival.”